or something?" someone snarled at me as I pedalled past them yesterday.
I always go at walking speed on the footpaths but I was going very slowly indeed this time because, ahead of me, were two very small humans not on their leashes. This always worries me. I prefer very small humans to be properly under control when there is traffic around. They could dart out into the roadway at any moment.
Their mothers were chatting - one of those "And then he said to her... and she said to him..." type of conversations.
I reached the button controlled pedestrian crossing and pushed the button and waited. The two very small humans caught up and the smallest one jumped up, pushed the button again and then started to cross the road. I grabbed. Fortunately I grabbed clothing. Car brakes squealed - and missed by more than enough but still alarmingly close. The very small human still screamed - and screamed.
And, suddenly, I was being screamed at. How dare I push the button? I should know better than to push the button with children around? I thought I was going to be physically attacked.
The car driver had pulled over by then. He walked back looking the colour of the sky (grey) and very shaken.
"Kid okay?" he asked. I nodded because the mother was still ranting.
He rapidly backed off. The traffic stopped for us to cross. I tried to get over and found my way blocked by the mother. She still seemed to think that it was all my fault.
Her friend was just standing there looking confused. By then both the children were crying.
Someone else crossed from the other side. He was big. He was wearing work boots, dirty work clothes, the obligatory tattoos and a "don't mess with me" sort of expression.
He just stood there. He did not say anything. The mother turned on him. The traffic had started to flow again. Calmly, he pushed the button while he continued to stare at the mother. She stopped shouting. Her friend said nothing. The children sobbed. The traffic stopped again. I pedalled silently over and he walked beside me.
When we got to the other side ahead of them I said, "Thankyou."
He nodded and went towards the ladder he had come down. I pedalled on feeling distinctly shaky.
A little later, on my return from the post office, I saw the two women and the two children in the shopping centre. The two women were having coffee. The two children were running up and down nearby. They stopped when they saw me.
They probably went back to running after I left but I like to think they might have managed to learn something - despite their mothers.