Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Past Deadline: Busting Crime at Crazy Corner

A chronicle of my adventures walking Boychild to school, as published in The Perth Courier on Tuesday, March 3/09.

Busting crime at Crazy Corner

Most days I cross Crazy Corner four times and emerge unscathed. I’m referring to the corner of Wilson and Isabella streets, which is en route to Boychild’s school.

It often strikes fear into my heart.

Lloyd the Crossing Guard and I have had many conversations about how crazy that corner can be. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lloyd show up there in a suit of armour to protect himself from the dunderheads firmly ensconced behind their wheels and determined to get wherever no matter how many small children, mothers with strollers, seniors walking golden retrievers and, of course, crossing guards they have to mow down.

I have had occasion to kick tires of cars that have crossed in front of me when I have had the right of way. I have also employed the Icy Look of Death when someone starts to pull out just as I step off the curb pushing Girlchild in a stroller.

Lloyd is very proactive. I have seen him yell and shake his fist at some of these drivers, and he has been known to pull out a cell phone and call the police when someone does something dangerous.

An exciting feature of this corner is the fact that, for many drivers who are north- or southbound on Wilson Street, a red light does not actually mean “stop,” it means “go faster.” I always thought that notion was more likely to be seen with a yellow light, but apparently times have changed and people think it’s okay to run lights so red they are bleeding, especially when there are lots of school children crossing the intersection.

Another super fun feature at Wilson and Isabella is that in the winter the sun is absolutely blinding. If the pavement is wet then you get the added bonus of a glare. If you’re driving south on Wilson in the morning, you might as well wear a blindfold, it can be that bright. This is all the more reason to speed and run red lights, of course.

In late afternoon, the sun settles at the end of Leslie Street, so be prepared to be run over by someone turning right off Isabella onto Wilson as you’re crossing because they won’t see you. Oh, and just ignore Lloyd. He’s standing out in the middle of the road with his fluorescent hazard vest, big stop sign and orange pylon because he likes to dress up in funny clothes a few times a day from Monday to Friday – especially when it’s -40C. He’s yelling and shaking his fist at you because he has anger issues.


Granted, the sun thing is improving a bit as we edge closer to spring. (We are heading closer to spring, right? I hope so, because I am absolutely DONE with winter this year.) Speaking of the weather, this is something Lloyd and I talk about a lot after he has safely ushered me and my little people across the road. Only if we’re not talking about bad drivers, though.

Sometimes the police hang out at Wilson and Isabella. That’s cool. In my experience it makes everything nice and orderly for a while. Eventually, though, they go away. It must be frustrating for them to hear, “Oh, you shoulda been here half an hour ago when the guy in the blue car blew the red light and nearly took out 72 people crossing the street!”

Realizing the police can’t be everywhere all the time – after all, there may be equally crazy intersections to patrol elsewhere – I think the town should invest in some uber-realistic police mannequins wielding large imitation radar guns and position them at trouble spots from time to time. Alternatively, spike belts could be installed, with Lloyd in charge of pushing the button as necessary. That’d be interesting.

Now that I have gone and spent an entire column complaining about my silly near-death experiences at Wilson and Isabella streets, rest assured I realize I am now officially fated to make some sort of stupid driving error. It’d be just my luck.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I so hate drivers who rush crosswalks!!!! Happens to us regularly out here in Lotus Land, too. Or, they wait till we step off the curb and then race right behind us, practically catching my coat as they turn. I'm terrified my boys are going to (as they are known to do) dash back behind us to examine a squished worm or pick up dropped Lego and get squished themselves. I waved sarcastically at one family in a van who nearly mowed us over, trying to show them the clearly marked Zebra crossing. They all waved back happily - they were from our school and thought my manic angry gestures were a good morning!!!! AUGH.

Deep breath. I hope some of the dunderhead drivers in Perth read your column and maybe, just maybe recognize that they're the problem.