Yesterday I went to Cuneo to meet some friends for a birthday coffee (yes, I’m still celebrating my birthday, so??) with the Girl, and since it was almost naptime I started the doing the usual song and dance to get her to sleep, the thousand mile walk with slight bouncing of the stroller and monotonous chanting that works only 50% of the time. So, I’m pacing the streets getting worried glances from passerby’s (since I’m chanting like a Buddhist monk, in the hopes of boring the girl into a stupor) and I see a big commotion at the street corner, and off I go to investigate (anything to alleviate the tedium). And beyond the crowd of onlookers I see a woman sitting in the middle of the street, on the pedestrian crossing, her head bleeding and a man (possibly a doctor) testing her limbs. Ah, I think, another pedestrian got hit by a car on the clearly marked crossing. Now, just in case you don’t know, I feel the need to reiterate that I don’t live in a bustling metropolis, in fact, you’d be hard pressed to call Cuneo a city, more of a town, really, just a smidge above village, in fact. The whole town counts no more than 50,000 souls. And yet, pedestrians get run over at street crossings with alarming frequency; as a matter of fact, in the five years I’ve lived here I’ve already personally seen four. In the ten years I lived in Milan or the twelve I lived in Houston I had seen exactly none. (ok, ok, people don’t actually walk on the street in Houston, but you get my drift). The problem in my opinion is two-fold: people here drive like morons, I’m not exaggerating, they are totally and completely spaced out, non-reactive, like they’re all on drugs, but not the kind of drugs that pump you with adrenaline and make you hyper vigilant and in perpetual motion, no, they drive like they’re all mellow from a killer doobie, and like, dude, let’s stop here I’ve got the munchies, what? my turn signal, dude, chill man, I like, just need to stop for a sec, relax, oh wait, what’s that lady doing walking on the street, oh, right n e e d t o b r a k e . . .
So my advice to you, if you ever come to Cuneo, do exactly what your Mom taught you as a kid, look before crossing the street, I would actually take it one step further and follow the mantra of all driver’s ed instructors teach: look left, right, left and then go.
Oh, and by the way, just in case you were wondering the birthday coffee was organized so my friends could give me my gift before it “expired” (so they said, leading me to think it was food of some sort) - Sting tickets for November 3rd in Torino. YAY! THANKS GIRLS!