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Oct 6, 2014

Globus Pharyngis and My Three Thousand Pound Enemy

While everyone is busy freaking out over Ebola (if you haven't heard of it, you should probably read theSkimm or something) there is another threat I am worried about. It's lurking in the garage, speeding down the street, and charging through red lights.

Let's rewind to March of 2013. It was a rainy Seattle morning (surprise?) and I was walking to work. I usually cross one street down, but I had the pedestrian walk sign (which I always call the "walking man") so I crossed a block earlier. The next thing I knew I was lying on the pavement, shocked. I was knocked to the ground by a car turning right. The man stopped, obviously about as frazzled as I was, and made sure I was OK. I popped up, confirmed I was still functioning, and embarrassed and stunned continued to walk to work.

I have to frame this story with the fact that this occurred during one of the worst weeks at work I had had in my 9 month career at this point. I joke now that my entire week it was like I was getting pushed around by the world, struck by a car, then I actually was.

I got to my desk and got that lump in my throat you get when you are trying so hard not to cry (FYI it's called officially called Globus Pharyngis, I had to look it up). Well finally my Globus Pharyngis got out of control and I knew I had to just go somewhere and let the emotions out. Where does one go at work when you have to cry? Really there are not a lot of options, especially when you have to get somewhere quick before the water works start. I sprinted from my area in the open floor plan to my manager's office (she had been my manager at this point for all of two weeks), shut the door, tried to talk and just sobbed. "I was hit by a car on my walk to work. I am totally fine, but I'm just in shock and needed to cry," I finally got out between tearful breaths. Thankfully she was cool about it. I took a few minutes to pull myself back together, then returned to my desk and my shitty week.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine was also hit by a car on her walk work. She didn't walk away scratchless, but she is OK. It reminded me of my incident and the risk we take anytime we walk or drive (aka everyday). According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Info Center, in 2012 in the US 4,743 people were killed in pedestrian/motor vehicle crashes and there were 76k reported pedestrian injuries.

While I was abiding by all laws while crossing the street that morning and it definitely wasn't my fault, I could have been walking safer and it has for sure changed the way that I walk now.

Stay Within the Lines
photo credit The Beatles, obvi
If you could stay in the lines with your crayons when you were five, you should be able to stay within the lines now.

When I was hit, I made a last minute decision to cross the street. I was within the lines, but not in the center of the crosswalk.

In other words, don't cut corners, (in business or) on the street.

Turn the Tunes Down
Walking is way more enjoyable with tunes or while talking on the phone. Millennials are multitaskers. It's really not our fault we have this tendency, and when else I am suppose to find time to gab with my mom? The morning I was hit I think I was trying to drown out the world with help from Pandora. Bad choice.

If you're going to have music on or talk on the phone, at least have the volume low and be as aware as you can. Which leads me to the last tip...

 Watch Your Back
Fetch pic from Mean Girls.
You need to watch your back (and not just from a three way calling attack). Back in the day when I would leave the garage in high school my dad would always yell "drive defensively!" I can occasionally hear him in my head telling me the same thing when I walk somewhere.

When I was hit I had my hood up. As I mentioned it was a typical Seattle day and I was trying to save my hair from frizz.  The hood blocked my peripheral vision. Definitely not defensive walking.

The driver is responsible, but we know we can't always count on that. Now I always look over my left shoulder when I cross the street even when I have the "walking man", especially when cars are turning right on a green light.

I would make a pretty big bet that this year cars will kill more pedestrians in the US than Ebola will. I joke about that morning when I was hit because I was OK, but I was really lucky. Stay safe out there fellow yuppies... stay within the lines, turn down the tunes, and watch your back.

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