Tonight I got a little wake up call. Nothing dramatic. In fact, it didn’t really strike me until I was trying to fall asleep.
My kids are all pretty big at this point. They are all old enough to get themselves to and from wherever it is they need to go without my intervention. Fully loaded Clipper cards have been supplied, and they each have smart phones that let them access all the transportation maps they could ever need. Muni is their friend and the bus stops 10 feet from our front door. There is rarely a time when I worry about how my kids will get to where they are going, even when the rain is horizontal, as it was tonight when my daughter came home from school around 5:30.
When she walked in the door, she was in a good mood, but drenched from head to foot. She told me it was way too windy for her umbrella and she had walked the two blocks from Safeway to get home. I asked if the bus had broken down or she had stopped to buy something at the store.
“No. The rain is crazy and there was no way I was going to try to cross at Edna or Detroit! Those drivers are nuts, they can’t see anything, and they aren’t stopping!”.
Think about that for a moment. The conditions for a pedestrian on Monterey Blvd. were so bad that it made more sense to walk two long blocks, in horizontal rain from winds so fierce the trees are dropping their branches on our heads than ride all the way home and get off a dry bus and cross the street at Detroit (basically straight into our front door) for the benefit of the only real traffic control on this end of the boulevard (at Foerster).
My twelve year old son would not have done that. He would have tried dashing across Detroit, where no one stops when the rain starts (not that they stop much when the sun is out). It makes little difference that I have told him a million times not to. That is how being a twelve year old boy goes. He would have been stuck in the median long enough that he would have chanced running across when on coming cars looked like they were far enough away for him to make it, just to get out of the storm.
In his farewell address to the United States tonight, Barack Obama reminded us all that we are the ones who can change what we see. We need to work for what we want, fight for what is right. Jon and I started working for a better boulevard 7 years ago. Recently, we have started to pick up that flag again. Tonight I was reminded, again and on a directly personal level, why. We live here. We should be able to walk here, even in horizontal rain.