Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Walking across streets at the U of M

He slowed to turn right on Observatory, but had to wait for pedestrians to cross the slusy street. He was on campus now, and U of M students were renowned for their lackadaisical attitude toward cars. They lazily strolled through crosswalks, even on busy streets, immortal in their youth and confident that cars would slow for them. --- Infected, Scott Sigler

Yeah, well he pretty much got that right. It wasn't so much that you "lazily strolled through crosswalks". You didn't even pay attention to cross walks... some times it was quicker coming out of the diag and having to cross a street to just cut across, or coming in the back entrance of the main campus engineering lab - you just walked across the street wherever you needed to. And it wasn't so much that you were "immortal in your youth" as it was the fact that... Hey, this was *your* campus and *your* streets - and you tolerated the cars - I mean, hey, if they needed to come on campus fine, but it was your street and you could walk across it where you liked. It wasn't uncommon at all for students to step out in the street, not in a crosswalk, right in front of a car, just glance at the car, and walk across the street. Its more like the rolls were reversed. Rather than the road being for cars and the crosswalks being where pedestrians could cross when the cars let them; it was like the entire campus was for pedestrians and the roads were places where cars could go when the pedestrians let them.

I remember many things about Ann Arbor and the U of M. Reading this book (which was a good story, even if rather R for language) brought back a number of them; given it mentioned street names; etc. The above quote made me chuckle when I read it though - not because it reminded me of that aspect of the U of M; because that aspect is something I have never forgotten and pretty much remember whenever I walk across any street - funny how things stick with you; but because he captured it pretty well. "Lackadaisical" was a great way to express it.

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