These Go to Eleven

My first “Tale From the Intersection” is going to be one for my own personal growth.  You’d think the first one would be the one that prompted me to start sharing my tales from the intersection; the one where I almost got flattened by a car … but, no. I’ll share that another day.  Today, I’m going to talk about my own obnoxiousness – something I wasn’t aware of until I saw it from my crossing guard perspective.

I love my car! It’s a sanctuary. I love a long commute. I love traffic. I can sit in my cocoon, and listen to whatever I want on the radio, or sit in the quiet and think.  I can set my heating or cooling to the perfect temperature for me, or leave my windows down and enjoy the fresh air.  What I really love is cranking my radio to old 80’s cheesy pop metal, Motorhead, AC/DC, Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley, Anita Baker — whatever my mood calls for at the time.  But mainly, I like it LOUD. Loud like, I go through speakers like some people go through tires, loud.

It’s fucking obnoxious from the outside.  There’s no pretty way to say it.  I’ve also noticed a direct connection in the shittyness to the loudness of the music.  I rarely hear anything good pounding out of the cars, but their music is good to them, like mine is to me. My car IS my cocoon, but the intersection is not.

How long do you actually spend in the intersection? A few minutes TOPS.  You really don’t think about what goes on when you’re not there.  I like the morning part of my job because it’s slower and the busy parts come in little spurts.  A large part of my morning is spent smelling the morning air and greeting students and staff headed to the SUNY campus.  It’s almost like the Truman Show in the routine-ness of it, yet at times, it’s completely random and unpredictable.   The girl with the pony tail and glasses is off on Mondays. The guy with the brown dog comes through right before the guy in the hat, who is headed to the deli.  There’s a blind woman who crosses at the other end of the intersection – she waits for the sound of the walk/don’t walk alarm, but she doesn’t come every day.  There’s a guy with two really fluffy white dogs that usually crosses paths with the guy who likes the black running outfits. One morning, there was blue paint all through the intersection.  You could see where it led from the dumpster, and where the person driving the paint turned the vehicle around to back it in.  It’s been getting fainter and fainter every day — But you wouldn’t notice that in the 2 minutes you sit there for the red light.

The intersection is not mine.  Not when I’m driving in it and not when I’m crossing small to mid size children in it. When my radio is loud enough for other people to hear it, it means someone can’t hear the walk/don’t walk buzzer – it means me, or someone else around me, might not hear the police or ambulance coming up from behind – it means I can’t yell for a kid to stop because I can see that the car coming out of the lot is not slowing down, well… I can yell, but he won’t hear me.

I am not, not even for one iota of a second saying,  “I’m not going to turn it up to 11”. When I approach an intersection, or residential area, I WILL turn it down. You’re not going to enjoy my music, I’m a potential danger to myself and others and, even though I wasn’t going to talk about almost getting hit by a car today, I KNOW that woman felt bad — and stupid — but not as bad and stupid as if she had hit me, or the little kid I was on my way over to secure the intersection for.  I couldn’t live with myself if my audiological desires were the cause of, what could have been, a similar, horrific, but completely avoidable tragedy.