I got nothing against crossing guards. I see their purpose and they do their job well: helping kids cross the street when it’s time for them to start the school day. I drive by two of them on the way to work every day. The second one carries a bunch of dog snacks for the early morning pet lovers. However, one event witnessed this morning brought me to examine this small, insignificant piece of everyday life in a city with a middle school in the middle of the city.
The intersection was particularly busy, lots of folks bustling to work, lots of kids yearnin’ for learnin’. X-ing guard #1 (lets call him Japeth) is doing his best stop sign impression, allowing a few folks to cross the street. A college student crosses the other way unhelped and unimpeded. However, kitty corner across from Japeth, a father and his young daughter are standing on the corner waiting. What brought me pause was that the driver of a large white van honked a bit, rolled down his window and told the overly-patient family that they could cross “no worries!”. Yet they stayed as stolid as Sean Bean on the executioners block. This proceeded as Japeth chose to stay on his side of the street, helping a new pair cross, while leaving the waiting party idle, whereas I turned right.
What’s going on here?!? Yes, Japeth is doing his job and doing it well, but most of the people driving at 7:50 AM on a weekday aren’t crazy dumb road-ragy drivers on their way to the liquor-mart for some early morning bum wine. Dare I say that most people are super aware of the needs of pedestrians in this area, and many are overtly kind to let folks pass. Furthermore, from direct observation, most children under the age of 10 are walked to school by a parent or guardian, who should be skilled enough to communicate with a courteous driver, look both ways, and guide their brood across the street to make homeroom on time.
Not a hemorrhaging blow to common sense, but one that will make for an inspired Quiet Man Drinking Game tomorrow. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.