April 29, 2009

Traffic Peeves (or Why Can't Everyone Think Exactly Like Me)

Here in New Jersey we're not exactly like those in New England who come to a screeching halt every time they see a pedestrian contemplate lowering a foot into the road. We're more like, hey if you're in the road and my car is close I'll brake for ya. But you'd better be quick about it. I must admit it is not second nature for me to accomodate the whims of walkers. When I walk I tend to dart across streets in an unruly fashion, not at corners with lights, but whenever I can make a break for it. And I'm comfortable with that method. I don't bother traffic patterns, I find my way through and around them.

I understand though that I may not always be so nimble. There may come a day when I have to ask that cars stop to let me pass. And when I do....!!!....I will cross directly!!! Perpendicular to the opposite curb!!! I will not wander diagonally, stretching out my time in the street with the longest possible angle, the longest possible asphalt coverage, the longest possible cross-time so that the people waiting in their cars have the opportunity to make a phone call, file the nails on their right hand and adjust their mirrors. No, I will cross directly THEN I will turn left or right upon my arrival to the other sidewalk and THEN make a beeline for my destination.

~SIGH~ I feel SO much BETTER now. Whew! Is it just me or does anyone else out there wanna honk and yell PERPENDICULAR, SWEETIE!

Now, for my next traffic pattern pout. School. Everyone drives his kid to school these days. There are no buses in our town and when I grew up only a few parents drove their kids to school, usually those who lived the farthest. We live the farthest from the elementary school that my kids go to so I drive if it's cold or rainy. Everyone else drives too. Even the lady who lives literally 5 houses from the school drives her kids sometimes! But that's not my peeve. My peeve is that all these parents have to drop their kid at the gate or at the door of the school. In the quiet, lovely neighborhood of the school there is a tiny little traffic-jammed corner - with a crossing guard at the ready for crossing kids on foot - through which cars, SUVs, vans squeeze just so they can drop their kid in the 10 foot stretch of sidewalk they feel is the place their kids' feet need to fall as they leave the vehicle. There is a wide open playground/field where no one ever drops because the kid would have to travel across the field (small, small field) to drop his or her backpack in their class line. Even Sean will whine when I drop him there: I have to walk all the way across...bla bla bla. It's about 100 yd. Is it not enough that they don't have to walk to school any more, do we have to make sure that heart rate or muscle movement is not in the equation at all? I expect to see a dad carry a kid out of the car and to her line and drop her there, now don't move. We don't want your blood to circulate at all today, remember?

And forget about it when it's raining or snowing. Then the kids line up in the gym and there's an even smaller point of entry that cars have to line up for the direct-dropping. They'll wait in line for the exact point of entry and block the intersection rather than pull ahead where the curb is free and drop their kid 50 ft away. Oh, and then there's the parents that get out of their car in this rain/snow drop-off nightmare to walk their kid to the door or talk to a neighbor about the PTA meeting vote on soft pretzel sales. Sometimes they just sit and stare at their children as they walk to the door or line. Juuust watch....Juuust to make sure they don't trip or get stung by a fire ant or lifted off into the sky by a giant hawk. That's when I pass out and the eyes roll back. I firmly believe that if we all drove personal helicopters, people would drop their kids directly above their line on the playground. Or perhaps just plop them right at their desk or lower them down on a line then swing the copter back and forth and fling them through their classroom window. I firmly believe that.

Honorable mentions:

*Here's a blast from your driver's ed days past - PASS ON THE LEFT!

*Guess what? Maybe you didn't get the memo: Talking and texting on your cell phone while driving is illegal now. Call me crazy, but perhaps that's why you just mowed down that telephone pole.

*No really, that's okay. I didn't mind sitting here for a while waiting for you to suddenly turn without a blinker. Your car is pretty, I really enjoyed staring at it while you rolled along cluelessly.

*You know what's a fun challenge? Trying to get out of my driveway when you park your cars right up against the driveway apron. It's actually got me thinking of new inventions, like cars that bend in the middle or made of flexible rubber. Or personal helicopters...


rosemary said...

Catching up.....your photos and story of your Pops made me a little sad and sentimental. Thank goodness Sean has allergies only at the moment. As for the driving stuff.....Steve is a horrible driver....aggressive, rude and thoughtless. He also now has one of those jawbone wireless things and looks as stupid as his driving skills demonstrate.

Mom said...

There, there. Do you feel better now that you got that off your chest?

Paul Nichols said...

Maybe you and I can write a book about this subject. I won't rant here about it. You done good. Sound like me.