There has been a fair bit of coverage in the news recently about UPEI students risking their lives by crossing University Avenue at whatever point is most convenient, rather than diverging from the straightest path and using the lights at the intersections. Now, I have nothing against jaywalking – I’m guilty of doing it myself – but I do choose the time and place selectively to keep my chances of getting hit by a car to ZERO. What I would like to share today in relation to this particular news item is my own recent experience as a motorist with some of those students. Sandy and I were first in line waiting for the lights at the entrance to UPEI. When the lights turned green, we proceeded, but then slowed down to let some students finish crossing a little further down the street. If we had kept going, they would have been forced to wait in the middle of the road with vehicles flying by in both directions. Now here’s what bugged me: instead of hurrying across to get out of our way, the students took their sweet old time, holding up traffic behind us. I just don’t understand that kind of attitude, and I see it all the time with pedestrians. Everyone talks about PEI being this great place with really friendly, courteous people – and for the most part it’s true – but big city rudeness has arrived, and I for one don’t like it. Actually, pedestrians in a big city wouldn’t dare jaysaunter, because they wouldn’t trust the motorists for a split second. The thing about PEI is that of course everyone is going to stop and wait – that’s what we do, even if you just look like you’re thinking about wanting to cross. I’d like to believe that this rudeness is not normal for these people, that it’s just a personality anomaly brought on by the anonymity of the pedestrian/motorist encounter, but I am seeing more instances of people not being considerate – just little things, like not holding doors, not saying “Please”, “Thank You”, or “Excuse Me”. What does it all mean? It’s a worrisome trend for sure, and a sad statement on what’s happening in “civilized” society.

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