Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pedestrian Concerns

O.K. I must preface this post with an apology. The rant that is about to occur, while potentially calm-ish in nature, still will be, unfortunately, in the "Seinfeldian" tone. In other words, using the "What's the deal with Ovaltine?" template.

There is just no way to avoid it with this one.

What is wrong with pedestrians lately?

I do quite a bit of walking and bicycling, particularly through our (relatively) busy downtown area from my office to the Courthouse. I see a lot of other pedestrians doing the same thing. Quite a few in fact.

The difference between myself and most of them? I seem to have retained a healthy and reasonable point of view.

I am smaller and more fragile than a moving car or truck.

Period.

Which is, incidentally, what my remains would be smaller than were I ever to walk out in front of said car and/or truck.

As I was enjoying a rare late-summer air-conditioned drive through the downtown shopping district today I came to this stunning realization: there are many in my town who are apparently survivors of the Krypton disaster. They truly believe they are indestructible and stronger than a speeding car. Twice, on two different intersections that are several blocks apart, I watched the same man cross the street on a solid "hand" sign in front of me. Each time he made it no further than the median before the light turned green in my favor. Each time he sauntered into the intersection. Each time he made no effort to speed up to get out of the intersection once the light turned against him. Each time he did not even appear to notice that he was now crossing against the light.

This is why I say I believe he is from the planet Krypton.

What happened to the general healthy fears and rational thoughts our parents instilled in us as children when we wanted to cross the street? You know: Look both ways. Cross on the "walk" sign. Do not cross on the "hand" sign. Cars are bigger than you, faster than you, and can make you hurt. You can and will die.

[Aside: It is not as if my parents' generation was overly cautious in their child-rearing. After all, my generation grew up without car seats, usually sitting on the hump on the floor in the back seat, listening to our parents talk. We crawled around the station wagon, switching seats with abandon. I remember Chinese Fire Drills at red lights. We had hair dryers, blenders, and clothes irons without needing a pamphlet full of disclaimers and warnings. We had lead-based paint and lead-based toys, not to mention toys with long strings on them. We had REAL cap guns. The list goes on.]

It is the same mentality that I see when I travel to Utah and visit my friends in Salt Lake City. As I have mentioned before, their offices are near to several of the light rail system stations. The stream of pedestrians jay-walking from the stations to the sidewalks -- across very busy metropolitan streets, mind you -- is unbelievable. Some even go so far as to walk down the middle of the rail tracks from one end of the block until they reach the "verboten" end of the station platform.

Umm.... Excuse me, people. I have just two thoughts:

(1) Cars are bigger, faster, and stronger than you.
(2) Trains are bigger, faster, and stronger than cars.

Is this symptomatic of the intelligence or common sense of the average American citizen in the twenty-first century? Could it be that we are so inured to mayhem by video games, movies, and television that we truly believe that we are invincible? That life truly has a "Reset" button? I am not one who likes to blame bad things in life on games, video or otherwise. After all, I grew up during the advent of home video game console systems (Magnavox Odyssey and Atari, anyone?) and during the hysteria of the anti-Dungeons & Dragons-because-its-Satanic craze.

[Aside: And let me tell you children, the hubbub of the anti-Harry Potter movement has NOTHING on the whole Dungeons & Dragons scare. Ask your parents if you do not believe me.]

Or is it that we simply believe ourselves to be better than others, or our destination more important than another persons' destination? Think about the last time you went to Wal-Mart...or observe the next time you go. Make a conscious decision to drive on the road directly in front of the store. The flood of humanity that crosses in front of you, whether from the store to the parking lot or vice-versa: Observe them carefully. Look at how many bother to cross at the actual crosswalks. And then look at how many bother to actually stop for the cars traveling in front of the store. And then count how many of those actually look up and around for moving vehicles before stepping out in front of the cars.

Then do the same at any random box-store. Target. Best Buy. Barnes & Noble. Heck, even the grocery store.

My guess? Most of those who go in and out, crossing to or from the parking lot, will do so without regard for the vehicles around them, without regard for their own safety and welfare.

Granted, they have the right-of-way. I am in no way denying or arguing against that fact. But the way many of these people act it is as if they are entitled to cross willy-nilly and how, when, and where they wish.

Did I miss the handing-out of the car-proof suit and magic cape? Or was I simply born in a different time?

What is this mentality? And why do I think our society is worse-off for it?

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Clean as a Whistle

I am not sure why a whistle is the paragon of cleanliness, considering that it is a tool into which you are forcefully expelling saliva and germs, not to mention microscopic orts of food, but regardless, apparently this blog is just that.
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Site


The site is little more than an advertisement and enticement to an online dating site. However, I still love a good "test" or "rating" as is clear if you have spent any time looking through my archived posts.

According to this site, "No bad words were found."

Well, what do you know? I'm Family Friendly.

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