I spent a good chunk of my day at work yesterday not actually at work, but running various errands around town that took me out of the office– I had to deliver some stuff to another school, to pick up keys from another staff member’s wife (more essential, and also more ridiculous, than it probably sounds) and to drop some stuff off at the administrative offices downtown, because inter-school mail stops working over Winter Break and I needed them have the paperwork before we left. I probably spent a third of the day in my car or otherwise out.
Our administrative offices are downtown. South Bend’s downtown is not large, but it is much like other downtowns in that parking can be tricky because there are a lot of one-way streets and a lot of street parking. I lived in Chicago for long enough that I can confidently declare myself the best parallel parker in the state of Indiana, so that’s not a worry, but there’s still lots of “Is that a space? Will I fit there? Wait, which way does this road go? Can I turn right here?” going on while looking for a spot, and the fact that I can never exactly remember which east-west road forms the northern boundary of our administrative offices doesn’t help. I tend to turn a block too early, which means I need to turn away from the office when I hit the street it’s on, which is annoying. And I’ve done it enough times that I have only myself to blame.
Anyway. On one of my various turns and backtrackings I drove past the county courthouse. The courthouse is directly across the street from the St. Joseph County Democrats’ headquarters. I assume the mayor’s office is around there somewhere; probably in the same building the courthouse is in, or the County-City building, which is attached. At any rate, I’m in the right lane, driving north, meaning there are parked cars to my right because it’s a one-way street. I’m a little distracted in that looking-for-a-parking-space, kinda-not-certain-where-I’m-going way that one gets when looking for a spot in a downtown, slightly unfamiliar driving environment.
And somebody walks out between two parked cars in front of me.
This is less dramatic than it probably sounds; I stepped on the brakes and never got within five feet or so of him, and he realized immediately what he had done and shot me an apologetic little combined head-nod/bow thing. He was never in any real danger, just one of those “OH SHIT oh we’re okay” sorts of moments that you get sometimes when you’re driving.
But I was close enough to him to recognize him, especially once I noticed that he was wearing a City of South Bend pullover– not exactly a garment I see on a lot of people around town.
I had just nearly run over Mayor Pete.
Who had been jaywalking.
Killing the mayor would probably have really screwed up my weekend.
In searching for an image to use with this post, I came across this parody Twitter account. Which is not the mayor, obviously, but… well done.