Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


The pedestrian crosswalks scattered across my town are equipped with black boxes which emit various noises- helpful sounds that range from furious beep-beep-beeps to gentle sparrow chirps. There are a few, of course, that say nothing at all, but they flash their friendly green hands and silently suggest that we waiting walkers cross right now.
I have been walking a good deal lately and am more familiar with some crosswalks than with others. I routinely encounter one in particular that uses spoken words to make its announcement.
"Walk sign is on. Walk sign is on. Walk sign is on," it declares as I move boldly across the road.
I was growing used to its jarring insistence, inwardly preferring the subtle methods employed elsewhere, but glad, still, of its enthusiasm with regard to my personal safety.
Then yesterday, I found everything changed.
I was gliding across, the green hand was waving cheerily at me, and the little voice piped up- the same voice, but with an entirely different personality.
"Hey! Walk sign is on. Hey! Walk sign is on. Hey! Walk sign is on."
I jumped a bit, which caused a momentary stutter in my stride while I wondered who was angry with me, and why.
I hate to be heyed; and when I made it to the other side, I told the little black box just what I thought of its roguish manner, and of the uncouth crosswalks of today's society.


Pappy said...

Don't you just hate it when you get in the middle of a busy street and the little black box yells, "Hey, the don't walk sign is on"? I just hate when that happens. Merry Christmas to you and your hubby. Pappy

Morning's Minion said...

I haven't met up with talking crosswalks yet, but slangy language is one of my pet peeves. Impossible to listen to the news without suffering commentators who repeatedly intersperse their remarks with "you know"--"and like" plus the "hmmms" and "errrs".
It seems indicative of a culture that can't pause to think before lurching into speech--and making "fill in" noises is better than a pause to regroup.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Texican, that'll be next, I fear. Don't know why they have to carry on lengthy discussions at such crucial moments!

Morning's Minion, one reason I don't watch television any more. Nobody seems able to speak well live on television. I'm not sure if it's just me losing tolerance or if things really have changed but I dislike the very casual air that news people have these days. They're supposed to be professionals but I don't see it. Your last line is brilliant- so perceptive. So true.

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