We’ve all experienced those moments when our lives flash before our eyes. Moments where panic, fear, nostalgia, and relief collide. For drivers, they usually happen when a camouflaged pedestrian enters the periphery of your vision and they’re about a nano-second away from becoming one with the bonnet of your car.
Pedestrians in Malta are fearless. Why shouldn’t they be? We have the most gentile driving culture around. Here’s some of the worst Maltese jaywalking offenders:
1. The run, dash, and hope for the best
You wouldn’t know what hit the road, whether it was a scared cat, or a frenzied child, or the woman who just got off the bus and decided to run out in front of it, hoping that God is with her on this day.
2. The Papal wave of mercy
They look you straight in the eye in the most apologetic and puppy-eyed way possible. And then… they do it. They step off the curb and fast-walk with their palm held high up in the air for the momentously prolonged, gratuitous show of ‘grazzi xbin, il-Bambin ikun jafulek’.
3. The philosopher of Lesbos
It is said that Aristotle used to walk gently with his students to teach them about the wonders of the cosmos and to facilitate pure thoughts. This technique is also used by a group of 2 or 3 people who are engrossed in deep dialogue about the wonders of the pastizzi kiosk on the other side of the road, as they cross leisurely without a care in the world.
Not even the blare of car horns could shake them out of their philosophical trance.
4. The street owner
They usually walk through the traffic as if the street is theirs by right. Eye contact is not even needed. ‘Ħalli ma jpaxxukx‘. Most often they are masters in the art of snaking through traffic; while similar in nature to the previous one, these are a lot more proud of their entitlement and arrogance.
5. The humble ninja
Perfectly timing their crossing with oncoming vehicles, the ninja starts by crossing part way through the road, lets the oncoming car drive past really close, and as they feel the wind and the metallic heat radiating through their clothes they calmly weave around it’s back to carry on his journey to the other side. Namaste`.
6. The two-step safety procedure
This is usually carried out by a mother or a nanna with a bunch of kids, who are all excited to learn how to cross the road properly and safely. First there’s the obligatory scream of ‘tini jdejk għax itajruk!’ And then together, they jog in harmony until they successfully cross one lane and stop on the middle white line to check for vehicles from the other side. Repeat until reaching the pavement. Għax safety first ħij!