Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Chivalry is not Dead (Yet)

I think I've discovered a new baby superpower. The ability to affect traffic patterns at a three block distance.

Either that or there's something in the Eugene water that is similar to Northfield, Minnesota, water. When I lived in Northfield, it was dangerous to cross the streets. Not because of any traffic, but rather a case of what I used to call "Terminal Niceness." This is where two or more car drivers spend five minutes using hand signals (this was in the days before cell phones) to try to urge the other drivers to be the first ones through a (usually uncontrolled) intersection.

The Eugene twist is that someone in a car several blocks away will see me standing on a street corner with the pram and slam on the brakes and then use head and hand gestures to try to get me to cross the street (thank the gods they don't have my cell phone number). I think I need to write a letter to the local Eugene rag:

"To all automobile drivers in Eugene:

How wonderful it is that you want to help me out as I wait to push my infant son around the downtown area of Eugene. May I suggest that when you see me with the pram, waiting at an uncontrolled intersection, devoid of crossing signal or pedestrian crossing that, instead of slowing down or stopping in the middle of the street, you continue to drive your car in a regular, controlled and predictable fashion? For those of you wishing to show support, a simple wave and a thumbs-up as you drive by would be great.

I know when you slow down, you mean to be helpful; but every time this happens I wonder several things: A) is that driver lost? B) is that driver waiting for me to step into the street so they can speed up? and, C) is that driver going to get rear-ended by the driver behind them? It's great that Chivalry is Not Dead in Eugene; but as it's been more than ten years since my last CPR class, I'm afraid if you keep this sort of thing up it soon will be.

Gratefully Yours, John Burridge"

I suppose if they do print it, I'll be able to tell who's from out of town; or at least Northfield.
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