I’ve recently begun thinking that we need a forum for old people to share information. I’ve literally picked up two tricks-slash-tips from Sallory and The Silver Fox in the last year or two that have me thinking this is a missed gold mine of information.
Not the typical “fool me once” or “eat dinner at 4 pm” type of wisdom we expect from the older generation, no. Having learned that you can’t tell young people anything, older folks know it’s best just to speak in cryptic tones when the situation of giving advice arises.
Rather, this blog theme is some real Today I Learned bullshit that you’d never see on the Reddit…mostly because we’re too old to understand how Reddit works, what a s/Reddit is or even to want to risk the inevitable disrespect of a down vote our input might engender on the site.
Redditors are such punks.
I’ve no thought on what to call this blog theme, so feel free to make suggestions, for now, I’m just going with TIL.
The thought that prompted this first entry, I first learned about two-ish years ago, actually, but once I started thinking hard about the real pro-tips coming my way, I realized I had to start out with this particular gem.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Diagonal.
The scramble crosswalk had appeared in the Pearl District while I was living in Shittatle. I know it wasn’t there before I moved because I have a vivid memory of standing on one corner of the intersection between Powell’s City of Books one weekend when I’d popped into town on the sly for the night without telling my family. What makes it such a vivid memory was the smirk on my younger brother’s face as he stood on the other corner.
Of all the times for my suburb dwelling siblings to decide to meet in town for dinner.
Anyway, the scramble was not there in that memory.
It seems to take an inordinate amount of time to trigger the scramble. Luckily, Portland is still a small enough city that traffic usually allows you to safely jaywalk whenever the hell you want,so one mustn’t necessarily wait. However, whenever I’m around when the scramble lights officially engage, I feel compelled to say “scramble!” before or as I am entering the intersection.
I’m not really very mature.
In addition to this scramble crosswalk, another thing I noticed after moving back was The Fox’s predilection toward stepping off curbs in the middle of the street and just crossing devil may care style when traffic allowed. I noticed this new habit because it’s what I do, notice things.
I also noticed because of the increased threat to my persistent survival this created for me. He’d decide to cross without warning and I’m still walking down the street jabbering away as I realize he’s now adrift in the middle of the street, fading in my peripheral vision. Immediately setting off on an intercept course usually put me in danger of taking a hood ornament in the ass…it took me a while to learn I wasn’t going to break him of this habit and train him to give me warning before taking off on one of his impromptu scrambles.
“It saves so much time!”
Because you have fewer days ahead than you do behind, this is a going concern of yours?
That was pretty much the gist of our conversations, but over time the distance at which those conversations had taken place has decreased. That tells me we’re working the kinks out of our system of non-verbal communication.
“Think of all the steps we’re saving!”, of course, this was before everyone lost their shit over getting their steps in last year. What do they really know, anyway?
And it’s true! The Diagonal saves me a ton of steps and time. Especially when I’m heading to the MAX stop at 430 in the morning. Young Xtopher would waste both standing at a cross walk just to hook a 90 degree turn and head down the street perpendicular to the direction I crossed. Cutting across the street’s traffic lanes is a much more productive use of my resources. Plus, that whole pivot motion as I turned had to put undue stress on my little chickeny ankles.
Who needs that?
Plus, it’s a victimless crime. Portland Police don’t really come out for crimes unless they can reasonably expect to discharge a non-lethal weapon into a group of liberals…so there’s really no threat of a downside here.