Friday, 6 January 2012

Standing in the way of progress, looking to one side

Today's post was inspired by yesterday's journal entry over at The Middle Class Handbook, which is a site that I personally think it's a good idea to read.

I don't know about you, but when I cross a road, I always like to avoid being killed so wherever possible I use crossings. I'm quite defiant about it. I'll stand there long after the last jaywalker has made their excuses, waiting for the little green man to appear. The thing is, I think people who jump that particular gun are thinking that the trade off of possibly getting really very seriously injured for arriving at their destination several seconds earlier is worth it. Having been really seriously injured, I must assure you that it is not.

Which leaves me standing at the crossing. I've pressed the button and everything - this is something which often escapes people's notice but I find it's an important step in the whole road crossing process. I'm going across the road. Across the road is where I am going to go. Straight ahead of me is my destination. Head up. Wait for that green man. He'll see me right.

And in the good old days (yes, this is going to be one of these. But I'm right, so suck it up) it was as simple as that. The little green man was waiting for you, straight ahead on the other side of the road (which as you may recall is my destination).
Road safety in action, and in Acton

But progress is an important thing. You should not and cannot, we are told, stand in its way. In this particular incidence, this is possibly because you'll get run over by a bus. Because yes! For reasons best known to someone presumably, the little green man has moved down to your side. Hip-mounted road safety is the way forwards, or indeed sideways. This is so stupid it actually hurts my brain. Not only has 'head up, look straight ahead' been the system worldwide since time begun, but it has also been the system for a good reason. On top of all of that has become a reflex, a muscle memory.

Watch a busy crossing today. I guarantee you will see at least one person look ahead, look confused, look around... then remember and look down to their side. Possibly whilst rolling their eyes to the heavens. They may even look thoroughly pissed off, as they should.

This new system makes me so angry that I'm worried my head will explode. But I reserve particular ire for the ones where the little box containing all the red man green man goodness is oriented in such a way that only people on YOUR side of the road can catch a glimpse of it. This isn't the bloody Crystal Maze for heaven's sake. Sweet Christ.

If course, in a generation's time, it will have become second nature. The children growing up now will be so used to it that changing it back to the right and proper way would be just as disorientating. However, I'm still fuming about this so all I can say is that I hope all the children of today grow up with a bleedin' permanent crick in their neck and a slight lean.

I always knew that I would turn into a disagreeable old coot sooner rather than later. But I'd never have predicted that it would be my adherence to the tenets of basic road safety that would push me over the edge.

1 comment:

Mungolina said...

My theory is that moving the little green man means that it's much harder to just see the green man and walk without checking that the traffic has actually stopped.

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