Monday, July 4, 2011


Yesterday I stood at the crosswalk as usual chatting with the school principal. During my half hour there about 100 kids cross the street and one jr. high school boy on his bicycle. I rarely get anyone from the neighborhood crossing at that hour.

But yesterday, down the street, (sidewalk) came a young man on his bicycle and he zipped across the street heedless of cars or the traffic signal or me or the principal. I stepped into his way stopping the bicycle and gave him a tongue lashing.

"J-kun! What do you think you are doing?! There is a light here! You are supposed to wait for the light to change. Why do you think I'm standing here?! Stop at the crosswalk! You are an adult now! Act like one!"

I have known J-kun since he was in jr. high school. He lives in my neighborhood and has been the source of many minor misdemeanors. He has limited mental abilities and used to attend a school for special children. But he is 20 now. He can't keep a job. He isn't allowed to have a driver's license. He squats on the street corner smoking or enticing the elementary school kids to play with him. He gets in trouble with the police and has been caught doing things he's not supposed to be doing.

In the past I have railed him about underage smoking. And I've yelled out my kitchen window at him to pick up the trash he throws into the forest as he walks along. I have reasoned with him about setting neighbor dogs free (he thought the dog would be better off without the owner...)

There have been good times between us. He's asked me to teach him English phrases and he enjoyed skate boarding with Takumi a few summers back. But nowadays I'm just a mean, ol' witch and yesterday he wasn't going to stand for a scolding.

"Get out of my way! I hear you! I hear you! Leave me alone! I don't have to listen to you!" And he pushed me aside.

"J-kun. I can call the police if you don't want to obey rules! Don't push my buttons!"

After buying some cigarettes in the vending machine (yes in front of the elementary school!!!) he made arrangements for meeting up with some of the boys after school. And then he took off on his bicycle, zipping across the street heedless of cars and the traffic signal and me and the principal.

"Tsk, tsk. How dangerous." was the only comment the principal made.

J-kun is no longer a child (though he may act like one). I wouldn't haul off and yell at other adults on the street no matter how they flaunt the rules. I feel bad about putting another stake between us but as far as I can see, no one else teaches J-kun anything....

Maybe I just feel brave with my traffic officer emblem emblazoning my hat.

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