Monday, November 24, 2008

How to cross the street in Dorchester

Some people know how to do it. Other people don't. If you're a poseur, don't try to cross Dot Ave without following these simple rules.

First: Look your best. It doesn't matter what your personal style, whether you're a pinstripe man or a hip-hop artiste. Wear your threads like you mean it and carry yourself like a gentleman. Ladies, there's no need to tart yourselves up. Sensible plaid woolens this time of year are acceptable. In warmer months, demure is always better but a light summer frock will always carry the day. You can wear orthopedic shoes or stiletto heels. As long as you can walk straight, no one will think any the worse of you. It's not the hem line or the calf line that stops traffic, it's common courtesy.

Second: Look both ways before you cross. Stop, look, listen. It's been good advice since roads were invented, and you can find Latin inscriptions carved in the intersections at Pompei. Dorchester's intersections have an antiquated way of signalling the pedestrian right-of-way. If a traffic light displays both yellow and red at the same time, it means pedestrians can cross without worry. Beware though, most jurisdictions don't use this signal so some out-of-town drivers get impatient when they don't know what they are supposed to do. They will race into the crosswalk and when it is person vs. automobile, the person ends up in the emergency room.

Third: Be gracious and accomodating to other people using the roadway, no matter how they are utilizing it, be it by car, motorcycle, motor scooter, wheelchair or on foot. It is a public thoroughfare and every fellow citizen is entitled to cross the street to reach his or her destination. Forgive misunderstandings over who has the right of way. A little inconvience is better than agitating tempers and enabling even more gridlock.

Fourth and foremost, a summary of the rules of good street-crossing summarized into something more than their parts: Look good, feel good, be patient, be courteous, be understanding. You are in Dorchester, after all, able to enjoy all the sights and smells of a rich neighborhood unfolding its routine while you bear witness and lend your presence. There are hungry children all over Africa, and thier equally struggling parents, who would feel blessed to be able to cross Dot Ave on some mundane errand. Feel your good luck and thank Providence and Fortune that you are able to enjoy this little adventure. With that in mind, and due caution, you can cross the street without worries and keep Dorchester the smoothly running community it is.

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