Wednesday, February 22, 2012

(This Is Not) The Wauwatosa Grand Prix

*** Extracted from my first Wauwatosa Patch blog ***

Hello Wauwatosa Patch readers. My name is Mike and I live in Wauwatosa. This is my first Patch blog and I'm angry.

I was going to write my first post as a big, sloppy kiss to the city I love and its fine citizens, but I'm afraid I can't do that today. You see, today, or more specifically, yesterday morning, I became infuriated at a few of my fellow Wauwatosans and I haven't been able to shake it.

What's got me so ticked off?

Your bad driving.

Seriously. You folks are sweet and nice when you're out walking the dog or at the coffee shop, but when you get behind the wheel of an automobile you mash your foot to the boards and grip the wheel like Michael Schumacher at the Grand Prix de Monaco. Only you can't drive like Michael Schumacher at the Grand Prix de Monaco.

It's one thing for me to just be grumpy, but what I saw yesterday morning was downright dangerous and nearly resulted in an elderly man and a crossing guard getting run over at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and 76th. It didn't qualify as a merely egregious example of bad driving -- it registered as an outright violation of the law. A Wauwatosa East crossing guard had his STOP sign held high and was accompanying the gentleman as he crossed Milwaukee Avenue. A turning driver ignored the sign and accelerated right though their crosswalk missing them by an inch. I was shocked as I saw him shoot past my bumper narrowly missing me too. The guard was equally exasperated as he glared at the offending auto as it sped west on Milwaukee Street.

My heart still pounding from witnessing the close call, my light turned green and I began to accelerate through the intersection. Just then a Tosa East boy ran right in front of my car. BRAKES!! I slammed on 'em. The kid's eyes were wide as saucers and he knew he did a dumb thing.

Adrenalin still coursing through my veins after the two incidents, I made my way east towards Washington Heights. Apparently, the speed limit or 5 mph over is not enough for some and a car decided to blast past me on the right.

This one happens all ... the ... time.

Lastly, at the intersection of Hawley and Vliet, I wait for a red to turn green. As I watch southbound cars speed through the intersection, I see their light turn to yellow. That doesn't matter; for most, yellow means green and red is merely a suggestion. I see another car approaching the intersection at full speed and I don't care what my signal says, or is about to say, my motorcycling instincts tell me this clown's gonna run it and I'm not in the mood to be T-boned on a Tuesday. I'll hold a sec just to see if he's going to stop.

He does, but not after thinking about running it, I'm sure. The light in front of me has turned green for less than a second and the guy behind me lays on his horn. LESS THAN A SECOND, I tell you. The fractions of a second that transpired between the green light and his horn would have to be measured with pulsations transmitted from a Rubidium standard clock. We're talking nanoseconds here. My rapidly beating heart turned into vaporizing boiling blood I was so mad. Nonetheless, I kept my cool and continued my morning commute to Walkers Point.

Five minutes and less than 2 miles from home, I saw unconscionably dunderheaded moves by no less than 4 people (5 or 6 if you count the southbound, red-light runner and the one that was thinking about it).

C'mon people. We are better than this. Can we please chill just a li'l? Arrive alive and all that stuff? If you're worried that your boss is standing at the time clock with a chronometer in hand measuring your arrival to the thousandth of a second, may I suggest awaking from your comfy slumber just a few minutes earlier?

Sorry to be rough on you, Wauwatosa. Call it tough love and thanks for reading. I'll be more light-hearted next time. I promise.

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