Back in the 1990s, Manteca Waterslides did a take-off on a popular Top 40 song “Walk like an Egyptian” to create a radio campaign dubbed “Walk like a Manteekan” promoting the recreation water park.
The Brown family got it wrong. There is no science — or art — to walking like a Manteekan except an ability to wear toe tags instead of toe rings.
But it does require a special breed to drive like a Manteekan.
To drive like a Manteekan requires devotion to an art form that is best described as “Pedestrian Pounding.”
California requires drivers to pass tests that require them to acknowledge there are traffic laws and common courtesy that should be used on the roads. This is simply not the case if you want to drive like a Manteekan.
A true Manteekan driver has a complete and utter disdain and disregard for any life form not wrapped in a ton or so of steel.
You must be willing to steer your weapon of mass destruction toward innocent men, women and children. The elderly? Collateral damage. The handicapped? Easy pickings.
So how does one learn to drive like a Manteekan? Easy. Just drive Main Street or Yosemite Avenue any day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those are the prime times for preying on pedestrians.
The first lesson can be learned at the Louise Avenue intersection.
This is a place where cars rule totally.
You’ll notice pedestrians at this intersection live in mortal fear. The pedestrian signals are long enough, but for people making right turns those on foot might as well be invisible.
This is the intersection where drivers are in real denial about the possibility that pedestrians exist in Manteca. Observe how people make right turns on red lights. They never stop behind the crosswalks. That’s for wimps. They usually get their front bumpers so that they’re sticking out into the crosswalk.
Scaring the hell out of pedestrians isn’t an accident. It’s a birthright at Louise and Main.
Pedestrians become even more of a fair target as you travel south on Main Street.
Jason Street is a no-man’s land. There are no crosswalks for obvious reasons. Encouraging school kids to cross here on the way to Golden West School is suicidal. Those who drive like true Manteekans believe it is an unwritten truth that if there is no crosswalk, then pedestrians have absolutely no business crossing an intersection. They don’t need no stinking vehicle code.
Of course, there are hare-brained pedestrians who have been known to dart out into traffic at Jason and Louise.
Since it would be unmanly to do the speed limit, most pedestrians who brave the asphalt crossing have to move quickly because even if they make sure there a safe distance from the nearest vehicle coming their way, usually by the time they’re a quarter of a way across someone is closing in on them at warp speed.
Of course, traffic heading in the other direction also refuses to acknowledge the possibility a pedestrian may actually exist in Manteca that may be insane enough to want to cross the road.
Then there are those who make it safely to the center turn lane only to be stranded by a steady stream of drivers who play “see no pedestrian, hear nor pedestrian, acknowledge no pedestrian.”
This is also where you can find unexpected dangers such as morons driving who actually stop for pedestrians. This gives pedestrians a false sense of security allowing true Manteekan drivers to play “Pedestrian Chicken.” This requires a driver – if there are cars stopped in one of the two lanes going the same direction — to whip around the side and maintain speed. The real good Manteekan drivers actually pick up speed. This allows you to scare the living daylights out of pedestrians who were stupid enough to leave the safety of the curb.
As the road narrows as you get closer to the central district, pedestrians become even more of a nuisance to those who drive like a Manteekan.
While the asphalt isn’t as wide, the gaps in traffic are few and far between.
Crossing where there is no signal means pedestrians have to have the patience of a diamond cutter. If they don’t, they can get crushed like an insignificant piece of coal.
There are times pedestrians can stand for what seems like hours on the curb’s edge at a crosswalk waiting for a break in traffic when trying to cross anywhere between Center Street and Alameda Street. Occasionally, someone unfamiliar with what it is like to drive like a Manteekan will show courtesy and stop to allow the pedestrian to cross. This annoys true Manteekan drivers to no end who are behind the stopped vehicle and must suffer the indignity of waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street.
A true Manteekan driver doesn’t just sit there and take it. Instead, they make faces, mumble to themselves or make gestures including one that symbolizes a feathered friend and we’re not talking a Thanksgiving turkey.
The real fun, however, doesn’t start until you reach where Main crosses Center Street or Yosemite Avenue.
It is here that Manteca Police sometimes use decoys to rob Manteekan drivers of their unbridled use of pedestrians as moving targets.
These decoys — or informants as some may call them — are truly subversive life forms as far as drivers are concerned. The volunteers run the gamut of teens on foot to seniors on foot. They are the scourge of Manteca society based on the fact they’re walking and not driving.
As the true rat finks that they are they will be dispatched to intersections where there are signals and crossing lights. Once there, they will do the equivalent of pushing the button to start World War III by trying to summon the walk signal. Once it flashes up, they will do the dirty deed — cross legally in a crosswalk.
This is where Manteca Police apparently have been known to become unreasonable. They will have officers stationed nearby in marked units in the vicinity of the intersection looking for the true Manteekan driver that either cuts in front of the pedestrian in the crosswalk while making a left hand turn or almost clips their heels.
These dirty rats will help police notice when a motorist has violated an antiquated portion of the California Vehicle Code that isn’t recognized by those who drive like a Manteekan.
A true Manteekan will offer the following lines of defenses:
1. The pedestrian had no business being in the crosswalk.
2. What’s the big deal? I only bumped the old lady. Besides, she got up on her own.
3. This is entrapment.
4. You’re only doing this to generate money (said, of course, as the coroner loads the pedestrian’s body into the van).
5. Why can’t I get just a warning?
6. The lady in the stroller should have been more careful. She should have seen me making a left turn coming up from behind her. What kind of mother is she anyway?
7. It is not my fault the old man with the walker moved too slowly.
8. You’re taking the word of a punk skater over me? Look at the disrespect he showed by bleeding on my paint job.
9. But officer, I missed the guy by a good 11 inches.
10. I was late for my nail appointment.
11. I didn’t want to hold up traffic.
12. It is not my fault. They didn’t look both ways.
13. Don’t you have anything better to do like arrest mass murderers?
14. The wheelchair guy was trying my patience. I can’t help it if I have things to do and he doesn’t.
It is important to remember that in Manteca, it is always open season on pedestrians.
And the best way to hunt them down is to drive like a Manteekan.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 249-3519.