As I stand on my corner each morning and afternoon, I do different things to entertain myself during the 20-25 minutes I am sometimes there waiting to cross kiddos and parents. I pray the Rosary. At least I now know to only do five decades as opposed to the seven I was doing last winter, however, I still haven't memorized the mysteries so I usually dedicate each decade to someone or someones instead. (Is it worth mentioning I also haven't memorized The Apostles Creed or Hail Holy Queen? If I'm mentioning what I haven't memorized, I should throw out there that I now say the Oh My Jesus prayer that I didn't remember needing to pray and wasn't praying last winter during my swim laps. Growth!) I like praying the Rosary in the morning to start my day off right or in the afternoon to refocus my energies before the afternoon and evening crazies. I now sing Christmas Carols on my corner. Since the weather became frightfully cold this week, no one has their windows down; therefore they cannot hear me. I do wonder though if they are wondering why my lips are moving. Either of these activities bring me peace during what is sometimes a frustrating time. Today, however, my energies were focused on what I would tell people if I could about driving through a school zone. I mean it drives me CRAZY! There is very little stopping at the STOP sign. Many yield right on through it, through my crosswalk and around the corner. Some even do that WHILE I AM IN THE CROSSWALK. I watch people speed right through the school zone. Many will hit their brakes and slow from the 45 to a 35, but few slow all the way down. And so, below is the essay I wrote (and rewrote) this morning while working my corner (see the funny way I refer to my job!):
If I could tell you one thing to share with your neighbors this holiday season or perhaps to choose as a New Year's Resolution, I would ask you to SLOW DOWN, especially in my school zone. Yes, it drives me crazy when you yield the stop, however, if you are going SLOW enough, you see me in my crosswalk and actually stop. Yes, it drives me crazy when you park on the far side of the street and cross illegally setting a poor example to the school kids, however, if drivers are driving SLOWLY, even you rule-breakers would be safe. Yes, it drives me crazy that you drive up the wrong side of the road because the line is so long leading to the school, but if you do it SLOWLY (and you don't usually do it slowly), then it would be safer for those people crossing illegally OR more importantly, safer for those driving down the road towards you. Yes, it drives me crazy that the people stopped at the stop sign think they have the right to turn left in front of those waiting to turn left from the main thoroughfare and those that are going straight on the main thoroughfare, however, if those on the main road were going SLOWLY then there wouldn't be a near miss collision EVERYDAY. Yes, it drives me crazy that VERY FEW people seem to know that the entire street is has a speed limit of 25 mph and that the school zone is 20 mph, therefore, there should not be such a marked acceleration in speed when turning the corner (in either direction, but there is!). That is why I am asking you to resolve and to spread the word, in 2013 DRIVE SLOWLY. I promise you, if you think you are late, you probably are, but speeding through the zone just means you get to the back of the line faster... cause there is ALWAYS a line. I promise you, if you think that speeding in the school zone is necessary, the hefty ticket, points on your license and increase in insurance should convince you otherwise. And I promise you, 80% of those speeding through my school zone are parents coming or leaving the school. The other 19% are neighbors and maybe 1% are teens. Maybe, cause usually they do slow way down. Workers slow way down - I guess cause the name on the side of their vehicles makes it easy to write them up. I can do that you know... write you up. Take your plate number, fill out a form and turn it into the police. But that's not what I want. What I want is a safer world, for our kids. To teach our kids that safety comes not just by buckling in, but by going slowly.
Happy 2013 from your Friendly Neighborhood Crossing Guard!
PS. Turning right out of the school and going around the block is faster LEFT TURN FOLKS!