10.05.2010

International Walk to School Day

http://www.walktoschool.org/

Wednesday is International Walk to School Day

and on this day... I am driving the kids to school
since I have to work late
we can not do our drive with the bikes then ride the bikes home combo
oh well...
do we get credit for the ride we did today?


Is it me against the world? well... sometimes that is how I feel
backed against the wall

I try to cross the street in front of my house... whether alone... with my kids... or with my dog
I wait... I wait... there is a gap... then I go
it will not be clear for an eternity
there is a window of opportunity
a gap in traffic... usually set by the red lights at the top of the hill

soon enough... a car runs the red light coming down the hill
while a car comes speeding excessively up the hill
I am in the street... I continue to cross
seldom does anyone slow their pace
they do not slow for me... they do not slow for my children... they do not slow for my dog
the up hill traffic often has to then stop for the red light after speeding past me and putting me and my family at risk
the downhill traffic... a half mile away... more times than not... they get stuck in a line of traffic at the red light
each set of cars not only threatening life and safety but also raising heart rates and causing discomfort, fear, and anger
and for what... it gets no one anywhere any more quickly

this morning things were crazy...
the cold mornings have my younger son trying to stay in bed just a little longer
which is tough... because I have just stayed in bed a little longer
then... once up... the boys are not sure what to wear... what long pants fit? what long pants are comfortable? and of course... WHERE ARE MY SHOES?

this morning was not that different than any other
young Grant having to poop when we should be rushing out the door set us back to a point where I was certain that they were going to be "officially late"
not in at the buzzer... but walking into class when people are already settling in

in the car the Bangles sing ANOTHER MANIC MONDAY
they are right... except it is Wednesday

being a few minutes late puts us in a little more traffic than we experience when we are on time
being a little late makes us more late

several light cycles go through without us moving significantly forward
the lack of logic to the drivers boggles my mind
left turning car after left turning car does not pull up enough so that the cars that wanting to go straight can pass
finally we get through

we park the car a few blocks away from school... this is where we usually park so that the boys can ride their bikes
we park here anyway
I give the boys each hugs
I try to apologize for the yelling at my six year old son
the hug is making them more late... but it is important

I coach the boys about crossing the street as they make the four block trek to school then get in my car so I can head home and walk the dog then try to get to work on time myself

in the car I head back towards home

the coffee and the anxiety of the morning compiled with the trials of life have me a bit tightly wound
cars zip by... the light ahead is red
cars are starting to line up in the queue
there is a sizable gap approaching
I slip into the queue... there is no waiting for a mile long gap
this is how things are played

the woman behind me gives me the two finger bird
we are at a red light in the queue
being the foolish creature of habbit I figure I have the time to see what she is trying to say

I get out... she is locked and loaded and ready for words
she is yelling as fast as I am talking
there is no listening to the other
she feels she is right
I know she is wrong

the speed limit is 25 MPH
her alleged having to "slam on the brakes" never happened
in fact... had she been focused forward she would have noticed she had to stop 20 yards ahead

as embarressing as it may be I continue the shouting match as parents from my child's school walk past
I mention the school... the speed limit... and the sizable gap
she holds her ground... she is wrong
she is not only wrong about her driving style... but also my permissibility to slip in front of her
on top of that... there is a kid in the back seat of her car
she set a wonderful example not only with her driving style... but her flipping me off

she is a clone
she is not an individual
she is just another clone in the army of idiots
only one of a higher rank

dangling from her rear view mirror is a handicap permit
is she handicapped? well... more than mentally handicapped?
more than likely not
this is a popular scam in the city
people get these handicap permits as use them as parking passes

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/26/AR2010092603666.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/26/AR2010092603823.html

the light turns green... I am back in my car
the cars in front of us do not make the light
we do not make the light
like an idiot I am back out of my car
the shouting match resumes

again... I do not listen to her
she does not listen to me

here we are... in a school zone... in the shadow of one school
blocks away from the next
people are walking from their homes to the metro
we are not on a highway... yet people drive as if it is such

nothing is learned from this encounter other than it does not pay to get into a shouting match with another driver
no matter the situation
no matter who is right or who is wrong
no benefit whatsoever
heart rate raised and that is that

no enlightenment
no changed behavior
not from either end
I have tried to ignore those around me... but it is hard
it is hard because my kids travel on these streets
and well... I am not always there to hold their hand when they cross the streets
the chaos is dangerous
control the car chaos

time to start my day
no time to proof this
just publish and post


3 comments:

dcdouglas said...

Sorry about the trouble on your commute, Joel.

I managed to herd my two boys and a neighbor's kid over to Lincoln Park where Dr. Harold Koh, the Assistant Secretary for Health, gave a nice speech in support of Walk to School Day. It's rare to have high-level politicals from my Department take a local interest.

After getting the kids to their classrooms, I picked up my Big Dummy and headed west on East Capitol to my office. Guess who I spot walking along the way? Dr. Koh and his delegation! I am very impressed that he opted to walk the 1.5 miles or so back to the Humphrey Building downtown. He's walking the walk to back up the talk.

gwadzilla said...

I have not re-read the post that I wrote...
but there was my feeling of her being just blocks from my children's school

a child was hit last year a few blocks from school

the way people drive is suspect
this woman had what appeared to be her son in the back seat of this car

this is how she teaches her child to behave
this is how she teaches her child to drive

my kids were not there
but my kids have seen me do this sort of thing before

I am flawed
I am far from perfect

gwadzilla said...

oh...

I went for an hour plus ride on my way to work
that almost erased this experience

then the tailgating cabbie brought everything back