Street Talk

I do not understand this street sign, which is in a neighborhood I pass through about a dozen times a day. My husband says it’s very simple: The sign is at a crosswalk at an intersection and it’s telling drivers to yield to pedestrians as they walk across the street on the crosswalk. Then why, I wonder, doesn’t the sign just say “Yield to Pedestrians” like every other “yield to pedestrian” sign does? Are yellow triangles not good enough anymore? Are the street-sign makers afraid we drivers don’t know what “pedestrian” means and so have resorted to hieroglyphics? By the time a typical driver (say, me) has translated the sign — which seems to be quite small in proportion to its stated purpose of protecting pedestrians — there’s a line of irate drivers honking in frustration. And why the extra cautionary arrow to especially avoid pedestrians “from here to?” I want to know: From here to where? If we have to be told to yield to pedestrians beginning at a certain point, then we need that ending point, too. Do not leave us hanging, infinitive-wise. Besides, shouldn’t we always yield to anybody out walking in the street, whether there’s a sign instructing us to do so or not? Just common courtesy, seems to me.

Inquiring minds …

Do Not Try This At Home

I obviously cannot multi-task.

“I can’t talk right now,” I said to my younger daughter when she called Sunday night. “Apparently I’m having a fire.”

Of course, she completely understood as I explained to her that the roll of paper towels I’d put on the dining-room chandelier to dry out had started to glow and smell like a campfire when I forgot it was there and turned on the lights. It was on the chandelier because it had gotten damp under the kitchen sink and I wanted a safe place to dry it out because I am too frugal (cheap?) to throw away a perfectly good roll of paper towels. The paper towels were under the kitchen sink instead of out on the counter where normal people keep their paper towels because if a roll of paper towels is left out in our house the cats immediately attack it and reduce it to shreds since obviously paper towels are a Major Threat in Cat World. The roll had gotten damp because I had over-enthusiastically washed dishes and water dripped down the cabinets and into the under-sink area. Ironically, of course, I had to douse the smoldering paper-towel roll in the very same sink and throw it away after all. So there you go. And luckily my husband was watching TV (football, of course) and didn’t notice — or I would have had some explaining to do.

Naturally, the thing that really disturbs me about this whole episode is not that I’d forgotten the paper-towel roll was on the chandelier when I turned the lights on or that my husband was so engrossed in TV he didn’t notice smoke but that my daughter was not surprised any of this happened. To me.