One factor in San Francisco’s pedestrian deaths

Walking home from the gym, I see a man on the corner so enraged that his face is the color of Pepto Bismol. He is shouting at someone I can’t see, something like, “This isn’t Disneyland, you know!” As I come closer, I see that he is yelling at the empty space between him and the free newspaper box. I relax; no one is going to get beaten up, it’s just another crazy guy on Valencia street.

Then things take an unexpected turn. Judging by his growing frustration, his invisible friend is not listening. He shouts, “Watch this!” and poises himself in the crosswalk, head turned to watch oncoming traffic. Then, with great agility and an air of long practice, he sprints in front of an oncoming car. Fortunately, whoever is driving is not text-messaging or updating Twittr and brakes just in time. “See,” he shouts to his invisible friend, “San Francisco is dangerous! You can die out here!”

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