Pleasant Ramblings • Mark Magnan
This week the title is a bit misleading. This isn’t about a sign about a crossing, but more about a couple of signs that need “X” ing. Actually for as long as I can remember I have always had trouble with the RR and School Xing signs. I never saw them as “crossing”, it was always an “X” to me. My father tried to explain that it was indeed a cross, hence the crossing part of the message. Well, that is still an “X”, it is not a cross. A cross at the least is more of a plus (+) sign, or actually more of the symbol you see in a Christian church. To this day the voice in my head that reads what I see with my eyes, reads the RR and School signs as “X”ing, not crossing. A bit of trivial trivia about the inner workings of my head.
OK, back to the topic du jour, well for the week. I have seen a couple of signs at local schools that made me think.
The first was at a fairly new school. Along the front of the school is a nice sidewalk. At one end the sidewalk ends, probably because that is the end of the school property, due to the school district not buying the adjoining lots, which makes sense. At the end of this sidewalk is a barricade and a sign stating that the sidewalk ends. Alright, if neither were there, one might take a step off of the pavement to the grass and realize quickly that the sidewalk had ended. It is not like there is a fifty foot drop there, just the change in terra firma. Let’s go to extremes, say a runner ran to the end of the sidewalk, they might actually notice the change and probably a positive change as it would be slightly softer than concrete. OK, so we have a barricade there, you may be walking and texting or updating your social media status, quite abruptly you would know the sidewalk ended. I might make some comment here about how a phone in some people’s hands severely disables their peripheral vision. However since it is a government facility, the barricade is not enough to let all the citizens know that the sidewalk is about to end, so we actually paid for a sign to be attached to the barricade informing us that if we have the ability to walk through the aforementioned barricade that we will soon be walking on grass because the sidewalk ended. (and my editor just breathed a sigh of relief that this run-on sentence finally came to and end)
The second occurrence was the entry area signs. It has the starting date for school already on the sign. That is just cruel. I am sure that most, and by most I mean 99.998%, of all students are not that excited about starting school in the fall. There are, of course, a few that look forward to school and might even be happy if they could attend school year round. Those are well into the minority. Having the start date of school is not really fair. Even the students that are terrible in math can calculate the exact days until school starts again, they certainly don’t need a reminder. I didn’t really dislike school, but I was never looking forward to the first day of school in the fall. I enjoy my summers, there was so much to do. Even as I got older and worked during the summer months, about the only thing in school that I really missed was the air conditioning. I never really had issues with school, although there were certain subjects that I just didn’t get. However it just took that special teacher to make things click and then I was good. I had those in both math and English. Those critical teachers really made the difference in my life. It was that one year that got me over the hump and got me to the point where I no longer dreaded those classes, but looked forward to learning more. I used to have issues with math, yet once I finally “got” it I was good and really seemed to excel. And with English, I never really saw much substance in the subject, then finally I had a teacher that made it worthwhile, and look at me now, a world famous newspaper columnist.
So as we wander through the area this week, watch those hazardous grassy areas. And for the school kids, you have plenty of time this summer, but enjoy it now as you can tell by the signs, your free days are numbered.