Sunday, January 31, 2010
Do you ever watch the people crossing Xenia Avenue? It’s like a miniature ballet; dodging cars and trucks, waving to friends, jumping over puddles and avoiding the icy spots while trying to find the shortest route to their next stop without spilling a hot coffee or dropping a bag of groceries. I think it would make a good vignette for one of our film artists.
It’s fairly easy to tell the locals from the visitors. Locals cross the street like they own it (maybe we do) – daring the traffic not to stop, sauntering, never in a hurry and ready with a practiced scowl for drivers who look the least bit agitated by having to stop for a pedestrian. Visitors on the other hand are overly cautious; they carefully survey the traffic flow, looking both ways several times, judge the speed and finally, in a rush, dart across the street.
The most entertaining crossings are in front of the Little Art Theatre. It’s clearly marked, “State Law - stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk”. Once again, the locals have this down to perfection. Never check for traffic, just confidently step off the curb assuming that whatever is coming will stop. And the enjoyment people seem to get from bringing a big semi truck to a complete standstill. I see people, obviously in a hurry, get to the crosswalk and then slow down just to savor the moment of being in charge for few seconds.
I’ve lived in town for a few years but I’m still a novice at the crosswalk. I just don’t have the nerve to walk out in front of a truck knowing that I’m right no matter what happens. I’ve practiced sauntering across Short Street hoping to build my confidence before facing the trucks on Xenia Ave. It’s not working. I’m getting worse instead of better and now, with the recent recall, I’m afraid to cross in front of Toyotas. I’ll never be considered a true “local” if I don’t get over this fear of challenging the traffic flow.
Perhaps to make it a little easier on us chickens (sorry Pee Wee), let’s start the pedestrian crosswalk in front of the drug store and end it front of Bonadies. Give pedestrians the right away from one end of town to the other instead of just in front of the Little Art. Is that too much – how about a crossing in front of the Emporium? Wonder what it would take to make that happen?