Monday, July 21, 2014

Staying on the Left Side, which Is Right

It's about time for my annual update to this blog.  You probably thought I'd forgotten about it, but I haven't.  I'm just lazy.

In the little town where I grew up, my grandparents on my mother's side lived only a couple of blocks from us.  We'd go to visit them just about every day.  When I was a little kid, probably around eight or ten, my grandmother would occasionally take me and my sister (and maybe my brother, too. I'm not sure about him.  I think he was too young) for a walk in the late afternoon.  We'd walk just a short distance, though it seemed pretty far at the time, from her yard to a spot near the railroad tracks.  There was a concrete square there, with a low concrete wall on three sides, where someone, probably the railroad, kept piles of gravel of two or three sizes.  

We always walked on the left side of the street.  When we reached the gravel piles, my grandmother would let us mess around in them for a while, and then we'd cross the street (after looking both ways) and walk back to her house.

There were two things she'd say to us every time.  One was about crossing the street.  "Always look both ways before crossing the street," as you might have guessed from the parenthetical comment just above.  The other was, "When you're walking and there's no sidewalk, always face the approaching car."  I can still her her saying it even now.  She must have said it every time we went for the little walk.  Anyway, it stuck with me.  Something similar was even on the book covers that they gave us each year in grade school.  With a handy illustration in case you needed help figuring it out. (Do people use book covers anymore? Probably not.) 

People could use those book covers now, though.  The little rule that I learned so young seems to have been completely forgotten.  I must be the only person in the world whose grandmother laid down the rules for him or who saw those book covers because every single person I see walking or jogging is on the wrong side of the street.  Every single one of them.  This bothers me, and not just because I'm OCD.  It bothers me because it seems dangerous, especially on narrow streets with no shoulders, which is just about every street in Alvin, Texas.  It's scary enough to encounter a car on them when you're facing it.

There's nothing I can do about it, though.  I'm not going to tell people that they're in the wrong.  This is Texas.  They might be armed.

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