a small matter of public safety
It is quickly becoming apparent that pedestrians in San Francisco need to WATCH THEMSELVES. Never take your eyes off the cars. Not even for a moment. Not even when it seems that they are slowing down. It’s not enough to see the little white man in the crosswalk sign. You must actually look through the windshields of the waiting cars and into the whites of the driver’s eyes. Then you must give him or her a stern yet questioning expression, possibly with one eyebrow cocked, as if to say, “Not today buddy.” Then, you must stride quickly across the street, as these automobile operators tend to have the attention span of a gnat and are probably playing tetris on their iPhone anyway.
The only time of day when it is even remotely acceptable to let your guard down is between the hours of 7-9 am and 2-4 pm. This is when schoolchildren are approaching their institutions of knowledge, and in order to prevent what would no doubt be a bloodbath and publicity nightmare a position has been invented to maintain safety in the crosswalk. Yes it is the crossing guard of whom I speak. These orange-vested angels of mercy are the patron saints of the intersection, and they are NOT messing around with those cars. Some of you may remember the position of crossing guard as the job of a responsible student, something reminiscent of a hall monitor, you may even have held one of these positions. Not here you don’t. These are stern and powerfully built women, probably mothers themselves, who have been known to stop a banker in a Mercedes on his way to an emergency meeting on the state of the bailout, with nothing but a flick of the wrist.
Chloe has been hit not once, but twice. The second time an elderly woman simply rolled into the back of her knees, while trying to inch forward to get a jump on the light. When Chloe told me this story I remarked that this driver must have been an idiot not to have seen a person right in front of her eyes. “But people ARE idiots,” Chloe replied emphatically, her eyes wide. She needed me to believe this. It might, after all, be a matter of life and death.