M. Giant's
Velcrometer
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks


Monday, September 13, 2004  

Roadside Resistance

Thanks to those of you who were worried that my cat was dead. Rest assured that if I ever have to write that entry, I'll prepare you a little better than that. Now my problem is that Orca is strutting around the house, being all offended and going, "HellOOO! Not dead either!"

* * *

On Saturday, Trash and I went out on Lake Minnetonka. Yes, the same Lake Minnetonka that's so famous for not being in that one scene in Purple Rain. Trash's dad had been inviting us out for a cruise for…oh, about four years or so, and our schedules finally meshed. It really wasn't as busy on the water as one might expect for as nice a day as it was. We spent a few hours zipping around, marveling at the huge, ocean-going yachts that are able to carry their owners all the way to the middle of the lake and back. I believe one of them was called the S.S. More Money Than Sense.

On the way back from the lake, there seems to be one major road leading back from the marina. It isn't actually a major road, though. It's just a regular residential street that appears to have been built years before Lake Minnetonka got so busy, but now it's just about the only way to get away from that side of the lake. Sucks for the people who live there, who have to deal with auto traffic to and from the lake but don't get the view.

So at least one homeowner in this neighborhood has taken matters into his own hands. We saw a large, carefully hand-lettered stand-up sign in the front yard, about five feet from the edge of the road. It said, "PLEASE SLOW DOWN FOR MY KIDS."

And in that five-foot space between the sign and the curb? Two kids.

So this guy wasn't bluffing. He wanted us to slow down for the children, and if we didn't believe him, why, there they were. THERE THEY ARE! NOW SLOW DOWN!

I don't know how long they'd been there or what they were actually doing (we screamed past too quickly to tell), but I can imagine Dad ordering them out onto the lawn: "Kids, you better head out to the curb, right now. Traffic's just going by too fast. Quit whining and get your asses out there! It's for your own good. Read the sign, why don't you?"

The sign didn't say that these kids were the only ones he had left, but we couldn't help speculating. We also wondered if maybe the kids weren't his at all, but just part of his little roadside display designed to slow people down. Maybe he gives the neighborhood kneebiters ten cents an hour to stand inches away from the hurtling river of steel and glass and look vulnerable. Or maybe he'd just hired these kids because his own offspring had been long since squished. In which case the sign may not be working.

A few years ago, in our own neighborhood, signs started popping up in people's lawns saying, "Slow down! We live here." They were red-and-yellow, professionally printed signs that were the brainchild of some busybody who thought people drive too fast around the lakes—and who, for your information, doesn't live here. Trash despised these signs to distraction, because the one thing she cannot stand, above all other things, is being just a few blocks from home and getting stuck behind some moron traveling at haywagon speeds. The last thing she wanted was an organized campaign to slow these idiots down even more. I won't say she stole any of these signs out of people's yards in the dead of night, because that might have been illegal. If she had, I mean. Which I'm not saying she did. But the thought occurred to her.

I can't say whether it occurred to her to steal that sign off the road near Lake Minnetonka, or to kidnap its live visual aids. If the thought crossed her mind, she didn't say anything to me. But I can't help thinking that if it were on her everyday commute, "PLEASE SLOW DOWN FOR MY KIDS" might just threaten to take on a new meaning. If only to rescue them from their control-freak "guardian."

Today's best search phrase: "What year did New York install its first elevator train? Well?" Okay, okay, I'm looking! Simmer!

posted by M. Giant 4:22 PM 12 comments

12 Comments:

Everytime I see one of those "slow down, kids at play" signs in my neighborhood, where I've actually had to go around people going 5 miles an hour, I want to come back in the dead of night and replace the sign with one that says, "slow down, inattentive parents letting their idiot kids play in the street unsupervised".

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 13, 2004 at 7:03 PM  

We have one of the infamous "Slow Children" signs in our neighborhood. And since I'm evil, I chuckle.

On the other hand, I generally slow down and smile when I see a clever take on the "X-ING" type of sign. In Maui near a wetlands area across the road from the beach, there's "TURTLE X-ING" with a graphic of little baby turtles marching to the sea.

ginny
http://www.blogula-rasa.com

By Blogger Ginny, at September 13, 2004 at 8:28 PM  

Dunno, I kind of sympathize with the guy. I live on a street that's a shortcut between two arterials, and jeez, people zoom up my block like maniacs. And I have a lot of cats.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 13, 2004 at 10:05 PM  

Ah, now see, that, while irritating, is a least subtle. Here in Dublin, you can't go three feet without passing a "Ramps" sign, and I spent ages glancing wildly around for signs of either skateboards or wheelchairs, before learning that "Ramp" is Irish for "Speed Bump" which they've installed on practically every residential street. You sped by that dude's kids dragging only a guilty conscience behind you; here it'd be engine innards.

By Blogger Diablevert, at September 14, 2004 at 1:17 AM  

one summer my sister and i stole some of our "friends" signs and did a little "art work" and replaced the signs. the next thing that was coming was a knock on the door from the "neighborhood diva" asking if we knew anything about the tire tracks across the signs (which was done in red colour, it was a beauty)..of course, i gave my best.."oh no"..but i got so sick of those brats and their streamers in the middle of the road all the time...sheeesh

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 14, 2004 at 8:25 AM  

one summer my sister and i stole some of our "friends" signs and did a little "art work" and replaced the signs. the next thing i know, a knock on the door from the "neighborhood diva" asking if we knew anything about the tire tracks across the signs (which was done in red colour, it was a beauty)..of course, i gave my best.."oh no"..but i got so sick of those brats and their streamers in the middle of the road all the time...sheeesh

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 14, 2004 at 8:29 AM  

M. Giant-I read in Ms. Ali's recap that Trash has very strong opinions on the Burger King ads.

For some reason, I can't stop thinking about it and wonder what they are (as I have very strong feelings about them myself and everyone looks at me like I'm a nut when I bring this up).

Can you please do an entry about this or have Trash do a guest entry?

Thanks, and I too am glad that neither of your cats is dead.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 14, 2004 at 9:36 AM  

In 1853, Elisha Otis introduced the safety elevator, which prevented the fall of the cab if the cable broke, and on March 23, 1857 his first elevator was installed at 488 Broadway in New York City. The first elevator shaft preceded the first elevator by four years. Construction for Peter Cooper's Cooper Union building in New York began in 1853. An elevator shaft was included in the design for Cooper Union, because Cooper was utterly confident a safe passenger elevator would soon be invented: the shaft however was circular because Cooper felt it was the most efficient design. Later Otis designed a special elevator for the school. Today the Otis Elevator Company, now a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation, is the world's largest manufacturer of vertical transportation systems.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 14, 2004 at 12:02 PM  

I would LOVE a Trash guest entry. Has she ever done one before? How else can we know that she is real, and not made up? Oh wait, you included pictures, didn't you? Never mind.

But I would still love a guest entry from Trash.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 14, 2004 at 1:53 PM  

I read this story a few months ago where this mother would stand at intersections holding a hair dryer and aiming it at cars in the hopes that people going by quickly might think it was a speed camera and slow down. Or, you know, slam on the brakes and cause an accident.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 15, 2004 at 5:08 AM  

Uhhh . . . thanks for the history of the elevator shaft. That really filled in a gap in my life.
On a similar note, how many remember that the movie "Help!" (yes, starring the Beatles) was dedicated to Isaac Singer, the inventer of the first commercially successful sewing machine?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 15, 2004 at 10:39 AM  

Who writes these search questions? Are they people you know? Or are they things you write? Where do they come from?

Angie

By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 15, 2004 at 2:19 PM  

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