November 16, 2012

for Christmas all I want is fewer dead children

The holidays are approaching. Oh hell, they're here already.

This means relatives visiting, tight travel schedules, crowded supermarkets and honking horns at the mall, office parties, and end-of-year deadlines. It also means we're approaching the darkest day of the year. What does this all add up to?


Every red light seems to last longer, doesn't it? Every dinnertime seems to bring more telemarketer calls. Every commute seems to have twice as many idiots in twice as many cars.

Am I right?

Yesterday, a child riding his bike to our middle school got hit by a car. The kid went to the hospital but will be all right, thank goodness. I wasn't there. I don't know what happened. But I do know from personal experience how distracted parents get this time of year and how impatient they are behind the wheel.

Your kid is slow to wake up, slow to get ready for school. He'll still be barely on time, but now you're five minutes late and that means you could miss the start of your 9 o'clock call. Or your yoga class. Or your coffee date. Or your housecleaner's arrival. And there are all these people driving slowly in front of the school and just freaking hurry your ass up you morons!

Or maybe you're approaching the school and you just found out Johnny left his all-important history presentation poster at home. What do you mean I have to go home and get it? I've got things to do!

A few years ago I volunteered as a crossing guard at our elementary school. You'd be shocked at how many people make illegal and ill-advised U turns during the busiest pick-up and drop-off times. And how many drive 35 or 40 miles an hour through a crosswalk when kids are standing at the curb. Normally sane and intelligent people suddenly decide traffic laws are more like suggestions and don't really apply when you're in a hurry anyway.

After all, 11 year old kids are so aware and responsible and careful. Right? What could go wrong?

Despite my fashionably reflective orange vest and the huge STOP sign I was holding and my very cautious nature, I was nearly hit four times as a crossing guard. Once, a huge SUV barreled through the crosswalk at about 30 miles per hour while I was standing on the double-yellows with the STOP sign out. The mom was looking behind into the back seat at her kids, yelling at them as she pulled from the curb and into traffic. Had there been a kid stepping off the curb at the same time he'd have been killed. Had I been two feet more to my left, I might have been killed.

Seriously, people. Slow down. Pay attention.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Haha this is great. So true, on every level.