Friday, July 18, 2008

walk, don't walk

One of the things I still haven't gotten used to yet here in Atlanta is the crosswalks. That sounds strange, so let me explain. We live in Midtown, which is fairly densely populated, reasonably commercial betwixt the residential streets, and certainly frequented with pedestrian traffic as much if not more so than any other part of town. But the crosswalks don't all reflect that. See, in New York, at least in Manhattan, every crosswalk had a pedestrian traffic light. You know, to tell you when to walk. Here, not so much. I have broken the crosswalk situation here in Atlanta to three main types.

1.) REGULAR CROSSWALKS. Red hand means stop, white man means walk. Sometimes the red hand blinks, or counts down numbers, to let you know that solid red hand is imminent. I like this. More information is good.

2.) PUSH CROSSWALKS. They look like regular crosswalks, but if you just stand there, waiting for the red hand to turn into the white man, you could be waiting forever. Look at the street lamp of telephone pole on the corner. Is there a button? A button which perhaps indicates it must be pushed in order for you to ever achieve a pedestrian walk signal? You need to push the button. Caveat: button does not guarantee that you will obtain a walk signal, because sometimes the button does not work. In which case you just need to dart across the street when perpendicular traffic is stopped despite a red hand signal, like the lawless heathen that you are.

3.) "HONOR SYSTEM" CROSSWALK. No pedestrian crossing signal at all. Sometimes there are little white railroad track-looking stripes indicating the path across the street, and sometimes (though not always) there is a sign dictating that on these crosswalks, Georgia state law indicates that cars must stop for pedestrians along these streets (emphasis mine). I hate this kind of crosswalk most of all, because some cars don't stop. They don't slow down, they pretend like they don't even see you poking out from the curb. I know everyone says that I should just start walking across the street, that the cars must stop, but forgive me if my instinct is to not push a stroller carrying my CHILD into oncoming traffic, when the SUV barreling 40 miles per hour down a residential street gives no indication that it gives a rat's ass whether you are crossing in front of its grill or not.

Anyway. Just had to get that off my chest.

So! Today I stepped out of the house for two whole hours without Cal to run some errands. I was able to do this because I finally found a cage strong enough to hold him. Ha! But I kid! Joking about child abuse is hilarious! No, actually, the reason I was able to leave the house was because (as some may have noticed, see sidebar), last weekend, we found a new nanny. She's someone that we've been in contact with for a few months now, found through Craig's List, and with whom we finally had an in-person meeting last weekend. She's been coming a couple of mornings a week now, as part of our "phase-in" period. First morning, she played with Cal while I hung around, trying to stay out of the way. Second morning, ditto, except I stepped out of the house for 15 minutes to drop Joe's shirts off at the dry cleaners (because I am the Great American Hausfrau nowadays, don't you know). And today, I left them alone for about two hours. They're doing fine, Cal is taking to her, we are building up THE TRUST, all that kind of thing. I even got a chance to run to our local breakfast place, chill out with an iced coffee and a copy of The New York Times, and relish the sweet, sweet peace of not having someone constantly trying to scale up the sheer face of my body like a miniature Sherpa. It was nice. And it was also nice to come home and see that both Cal and New Nanny were playing nicely together, as well as, you know, alive. So stressful to leave your kid with someone new.

The one other thing I got to do, aside from breakfast and errands (picking up Joe's shirts from the dry cleaners--oh, how I miss New York, where the dry cleaner would drop off your clothes at your house, FOR FREE), was walk around the neighborhood and take some pictures. I've been wanting to do this for a while, but between Cal and the stroller and the monstrous bookbag of provisions I have to carry everywhere (portable potty, change of clothes, wipes, lunch, snacks, water bottle, assorted miscellany), I simply don't have the strength to carry my big camera around. As a result, most of the pictures you've been looking at have been from my cell phone camera. Which, you know, is fine, given the crappy photos that I've been able to take anyway. However, it was nice to have chance to walk around aimlessly and snap a few shots. (Some of the pictures tend towards the, shall we say, more squalid corners, but let me assure you that it was my own gravitation towards those locales, and that the neighborhood itself is on the whole quite nice.)

Full picture set here.