1.11.16

Drive Like It’s Halloween Every Day

[The UN flag keeps Trump supporters away.]
Through a series of circumstances, I wound up driving around last night. As usual on the sidewalk holiday, I handed out candy at my dad’s house. He lives one block off of Summit Avenue, not too far from the Governor’s mansion, which is ground zero for Halloween tourism in Saint Paul. A parade of kids and parents come to the door for a solid two hours — about half of them kids of color, which is a refreshing change on our often segregated city.
A typical exchange:

*** KNOCK KNOCK ***

Young girl in a white shirt and flat black hat: Trick or treat! 

Me: Ok, what are you? The guy from Clockwork Orange?

Girl: (quietly) Taylor Swift 

Me: (handing candy) Um, ok.

[Vulnerable people walking around.]
As things began to wind down, I got in my borrowed car and very carefully drove off, negotiating through groups of trick-or-treaters. Heading west  down Summit Avenue, I was approaching the Hamline intersection just as the light began to change. Half of me wanted to accelerate and get through the stoplight. But than I remembered it was Halloween and there were a hundred tiny kids dressed like ninjas on the sidewalks all around me. So I slowed down, and turned left, and waited again at the next light, and finally got through the intersection.

The point is that driving in a walkable neighborhood on Halloween, any decent person will be extra cautious.
  • You drive carefully, looking around for people, head on a swivel. 
  • You don’t speed through intersections, especially not as the light is changing.
  • You drive 5-10 miles per hour below the speed limit.
  • You don’t get distracted in your car.
  • You don't touch your F'ing phone.
But this is how we should drive in the city all the time! Halloween merely reveals the everyday dynamics of urban streets. The only difference is that there are more people, families and kids, than normal, and they’re dressed in cool outfits.

But every day for the rest of the year, there are people walking around the streets of Saint Paul, kids, families, joggers, dog walkers, young people, old people. We should use our “Halloween rules” all the time, not just during an exceptional holiday. Halloween might when risk and danger peaks, but the total cumulative number of kids killed by drivers on the other 324 days of the year dwarfs the Halloween carnage.

Let’s drive like every day is Halloween.

[De kindermoord.]

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