Urban Annoyances (one in a continuing series)

Living in inner PDX is awesome.  It really is.  I’ve got a dozen fantastic eating establishments outside my door, and dozens more if I take the bus a few blocks up Hawthorne.  I’ve got an equal amount of fantastic drinking establishments nearby.  All my needs are met.  That said, living in the city has some annoyances.  Not all of these are specific to urban living, mind you, but they do happen here:

1.  Seat-hogs on the bus: Note to riders – when the bus gets crowded, move to the seat closest to the window.  Don’t sit on the outside seat with your backpack on the inner seat and refuse to make eye-contact as people walk by.  Some of us’ll actually break the ice and ask you to move over.  Roll your eyes if you must, but don’t hog the whole seat.  And if you see an old lady, give up your seat.

2. Screaming kids in inappropriate places: Parents of Portland – a public library is not a play room.  Please supervise your kids, and don’t let them run screaming through the aisles.  Thanks.

3.  Bad parallel parkers: I’ve brought this up before, but it bears repeating.  People live in just about every nook and cranny of this town, and a lot of us don’t have off-street parking. When you park on the street, please don’t hog the entire curb.  Thank you.

4.  “That” guy: You know who you are.  You’re the guy at the rock club who can’t handle his booze, but feels the need to drink as much as humanly possible anyway.  Before the band takes the stage, you’ll stumble around the club screaming at the top of your lungs, and bugging people who want nothing to do with you.  After the band starts playing, you’ll find that people are really enjoying the music – standing near the stage, maybe dancing among themselves.  You’ll take this as an opportunity to start your own private mosh pit, running into people, knocking drinks to the floor, and generally acting like an ass.  If you’re this guy, please stay home.

5.  Dangerous Drivers/Bike riders: living in a central location means that you do a lot of walking.  In the last three months, I’ve almost been hit by a car about a half-dozen times, and by a cyclist about the same number of times.  With the cars, it usually happens as they’re waiting to make a right turn, when the light turns green, they just go, without checking to see if the crosswalk is clear.  Other times, they don’t obey marked crosswalks (the one on Hawthorne near 39th is particularly gnarly).  As for bikes, they blow through red lights or play “pedestrian slalom” on busy sidewalks.  We’ve all got to share the road/sidewalk together, folks.  Let’s look out for each other.

4 Comments so far

  1. mcangrypants on March 5th, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

    Re: #5
    ahem…not to sound troll-ish…but…ya ever think it’s you! I mean this with all sincerity. Some people just don’t know how to walk/ride/drive…and some do. I’ve walked/ridden/driven for many years in a couple of major metropolitan cities in NAmerica and you always gotta know what is around you. My fav s are the dingdongs riding/walking with earphones on. they are the first to be cleansed when the revolution comes are asking for trouble.

  2. tenstringesquire (port_bill) on March 5th, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic crash every 8 minutes, and one is killed every 113 minutes – so I’m pretty sure that nearly being mowed down in a crosswalk is not an experience that is unique to myself.

    I ALWAYS make sure to make eye-contact with a driver in the right lane before I cross. But that doesn’t protect me from the driver turning right without looking or signaling on the OTHER side of the street, or the driver going way too fast on Hawthorne and ignoring the crosswalk.

  3. nolando on March 5th, 2008 @ 2:17 pm

    I can vouch for tenstringsquire’s awareness – he also walks faster than I do but is very aware of stuff around him. In fact, I have yet to be able to successfully knock him into any nearby bushes and that sucks.

  4. superinkygrrl on March 5th, 2008 @ 4:02 pm

    Don’t forget The Anarchist. You know, the one that hates capitalism, cars, leather, meat, wool, feathers, bottled water, gentrification, corporate America, The Man…

    Wait, I’ve just pretty much successfully described myself.

    How about the Keep-Portland-Weird-Bumper-Sticker-People? Now there’s a subversive lot.

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