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Playing Patintero

Replace boy in green with black MP3

Patintero is a children’s game usually played on empty streets, schoolyards and beaches. It involes a grid drawn on the ground where one team will try to pass through while the opposing team tries to catch them without leaving the grid’s lines at all times.

This popular Filipino street game is what I ended up playing with an undecided pedestrian this morning on my way to work.

I had just crossed an intersection near my home, travelling at a moderate pace since traffic was light, when I saw the guy come out of the traffic build up on the other lane.  I was approaching a pedestrian lane, so I eased up on the throttle to give him time to cross.  MInd you, this was not a “surprise, coming out of nowhere situation”, he saw me and I saw him loooooong before I was to cross the pedestrian lane.  So as I slowed down to let him cross, which he did, I kept going straight, keeping my line, confident that he would cross way before I reached his point.  For reasons known only to him, he stopped right in front of me then moved forward, moved back, forward, back, forward, back, all the time looking at me as I was frantically waving at him to cross.  He just timed it so that we would cross just as I passed by.  A non-event which became a near miss because of indecision.

I’ve gone through the event in my mind the whole morning, reliving it and thinking what happened to him to make him stop and stare and do that crazy pedestrian shuffle.  I know I should have stopped, but believe me, there was a lot of space between us when he first entered the lane, A LOT.  Just goes to show, extra vigilance is needed on the streets of the city.

Now excuse me while I tend to my sore left shoulder, sore from the frantic waving.

3 Responses to “Playing Patintero”

  1. Art P says:

    We have a lot of uneducated pedestrians and will not run out of them. Best way is to expect them on the road and just be a defensive driver. Shuffling and indecisiveness is main reason we have many people who get run over on the road.

  2. Christian Andersen says:

    Pedestrians are so used nowadays to motorcycles that are cutting them off in the middle of crossing the lane since the riders think they can squeeze themselves albeit the very slim margin. The pedestrian just got confused that a rider like you would actually let him cross the street first. That’s where the confusion started for him.

  3. Jong D. says:

    a lot of pedestrians even try “to use the force” (putting-up their hand to signal/gesture the motorist to stop), sometimes at the very last minute, when they are already on the motion of crossing, without taking into consideration the stopping distance of a particular vehicle. Maybe these people need to refresh themselves with Newton’s First Law of Motion or have they even heard of this.

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