11.04.2011

funny... but not really

not a good way to start the day
each morning as I drive my kids to school I witness a series of lawless actions...


let me recount the activities that are standard drive on my ten minute point to point commute
okay... I will recount the round trip of today


-as me and my boys walk to the car in front of our house a series of cars run the RED TURN ARROW at the top of the hill
in addition to the red light running cars... cars going up and down the hill speed well beyond the stated speed limit and cross the double yellow line to go around cars parking or pulling out of parking spaces
NEVER... not SELDOM... BUT NEVER SLOWING OR YIELDING TO PEDESTRIANS
this red light running is EVERY DAY... not one car... not two cars... but a series of cars!

-in the car we head for school... seat belts on and bikes on the back

-at the three way stop a block away... cars slow and go... not granting other drivers their proper turn
some drivers get to the stop and do not do so much as turn their head
just a simple SLOW AND GO... wheels lever stop turning

-a block further and cars line up making an illegal U-Turn down towards the ZOO
it is not just that they make the illegal U-Turn... they make this move at the risk of causing an accident
it is not uncommon for a car to make a fast awkward U-Turn right in front of me... forcing me to make a panic stop rather than colliding into them

-cutting through the National Zoo is pretty tame
(ha ha.. tame)
not too many cars take this route... most cars exit to Beach Drive
we go up the hill towards Conn. Ave.

-at the Zoo exit at Connecticut Avenue an occasional car takes the illegal Right Turn on Red
I fight the urge. It is tempting... but I wait for the GREEN LIGHT

-taking the left hand turn on the street right near Ireland's Four Provinces the path is often obstructed by a meter maid's parking vehicle... ticketing cars without money in the meter while blocking traffic... I have had words with this women telling her to ticket her own car... she is not here on this day... but several times a week I see her running the same ignorant routine... not working to facilitate flow... but working to generate revenue... my understanding of her objective is different than hers... HOW DOES SHE NOT GET IT?

-then a few blocks ahead is another oddity
a few times a week there is someone in the middle of the road at a three way stop in this Cleveland Park Neighborhood
... they may be with the school a block off from this street... I am not sure
they are not wearing any official traffic control uniform... they are not even wearing a reflective vest... they are not holding any sort of sign or flag... just a plain clothes-ed person standing in the street... they are just waving people through
I stop at the Stop Sign no matter what they want me to do... I do not find any rhyme or reason to their actions... my kids are tired of me commenting on this "random" person standing in the street

-after I park and unload the bikes I walk behind my kids as they ride a few blocks to school... their bikes are not for riding to school, but rather for riding home
In the afternoon I will ride my bike to their school to meet them and then we will ride home from school together


-at the crosswalk there is ALWAYS a car blocking the crosswalk making it unsafe for my kids to cross... today the car backed up
people do this stuff and often offer up the textbook SORRY... they say SORRY but they do not modify their behavior
if they were sorry they would modify their behavior... I do not have much concern for their vacant apology

-my blood pressure rises as I watch my boys cross the street in the crosswalk
fearing texting morning traffic making a turn without looking
but what can we do... this is the modern world... and these are the dangers

-on the sidewalk people make it tough for my kids to pass... this morning my boys passed a family by going on the grass... Dean passed cleanly then my younger son Grant made a nice move skidding to a halt as a young girl chased a falling leaf on the grass in front of them... one may think that the first passing bicycle would cause the family to pause and access their surroundings
these families see us everyday... there are comments to "watch out" or "get a bell"
but never is there an effort on their part to take up less of the sidewalk
or to be alert to approaching runners and bikers on the sidewalk
nope... they just take up the sidewalk and complain about the behaviors of others

-my boys stop their bikes at the corner and wait for the walk signal
a dad with his kids step directly in front of my boys on their bikes... this is business as usual
I am half a block behind... sipping my coffee as I walk behind them
my boys make the pass in the crosswalk and try to go up the handicap ramp with some momentum so they can make it up the slight one block hill where their school stands
a mom and dad obstruct the handicap ramp forcing 7 year old Grant to stop his bike and lift it up over the curb then start at the base of the hill from a dead stop
I do not make the light... I wait for the light to cycle through so I get the WALK SIGNAL

-I walk the final block to school
Grant is already in the building
I hug my Dean after he locks up the bike
having no business in the school on this day I had back to my car

-coffee in hand I march back to the car

-on 34th Street cars use the center lane as an express lane... which is not its design
I admit... I use this lane to progress a block forward to make my left when things are back up... some people use this lane for many blocks... exceeding the speed limit... zipping through intersections risking a collision with a car or worse yet a pedestrian

-I get back to my car and head for home

-heading down Porter Street I am forced to stop because the car in front of me was speeding... there is this really cool THIS IS YOUR SPEED sign that tells people their speed and has a light that turns red mid block if the car is speeding... only one problem... the speeding car is usually going to fast to be bothered by the Red Light
I am not concerned... I know that this mid block Red Light will not alter things... there is always a line of cars at Connecticut Avenue and Porter Street

-I enter the right lane knowing that I am going into the gas station at the other side of the intersection
usually I take the right lane... knowing that across the street there is a LEFT TURN ONLY LANE that is ignored by most everyone traveling this route

-turning into the gas station I head towards the pump... heading my way is a woman short cutting her way through the gas station in her car... she comes at me head on forcing me to stop.. her mouth reads ASSHOLE... she almost hits my car and then almost hits the pedestrians that short cut through the gas station on foot
My blood boils... I wanted to give her a profane response to her action and her words... but she is gone

-after filling my tank I try to exit the gas station... it is tough to maneuver with all of the people short cutting through the gas station on foot... no one grants me my right to space... they march through making me wait...

-I roll down Porter Street going a rational 5 miles per hour over the speed limit
all sorts of cars pass me
at the light at the top of the hill in Mount Pleasant I have the green light which allows me to pass a long line of cars stuck at the red light... a number of those cars just passed me

-only two blocks left
I take a left hand turn on the Green Turn Arrow... ignoring the NO LEFT HAND TURN sign

then home.

the point?
this is not just today... this is everyday
these examples were not generalizations
this was actually today's drive to school
although I made mention of the meter maid and the random person directing traffic
they were not there... but everyone else was

all the pedestrians and all the car drivers
they did what they did today
they do what they do every day
knowingly breaking the law
conscious of their modification of the law with no concern of anyone or anything other than themselves

running the RED TURN ARROW and then SPEEDING down my street?
that is everyday... that is the same people everyday... in fact... when I run a regular schedule I will encounter the same person running the red light and then almost hitting me at the same time every day... only less now that I do not have a dog having me cross the street as much as I used to do

that U TURN on Adams Mill behind the National Zoo?
that is their route... that is their everyday

yes... all these little infractions
all of this is the CAR CHAOS that is the danger of every day life

the inability to make a COMPLETE STOP at the STOP LINE
the inability to give PEDESTRIANS THE RIGHT OF WAY
this stuff is every day

the red light running... the speeding... the short cuts through the gas station
this is just how people drive

no way to start the day

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