Rudeness comes in all forms. In Winnipeg, it permeates every corner of the city and is hardly noteworthy when it happens. Politeness has increasingly gone out of style and the “Friendly Manitoba” moniker on the license plates is an urban legend that ceased to be appropriate more than a decade ago.
But when an elderly woman hobbling around in a walker displays the type of boorishness normally associated with a juvenile delinquent, even a hardened soul like myself pays attention.
While on Henderson Highway recently, I came up to a crosswalk. A man on the east side of the street pressed the walk button, waited for cars to stop and began crossing. At the curb on the west side was this elderly woman leaning on her walker who evidently also wanted to cross the street. With the cars stopped and lights flashing, she had ample opportunity to step out on to the street and cross at the same time.
But she chose not to do so.
Instead, she deliberately waited until the man had crossed and had both feet on the west side before stepping out into the street, thus delaying traffic much longer. She might as well have been holding a sign that read “Up Yours.”
Meanwhile, she had not cared enough to press the walk button again and the lights had long since stopped flashing. An inattentive motorist could easily have gone through the crosswalk without knowing someone was trying to cross. I can just imagine the outcry of support that she would have received if she had been hit.
We generally give the elderly much more respect than we do others. And in Winnipeg, this is how it is returned.
“Friendly Manitoba” indeed.