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The Observer Nov. 4

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STOP: For new sign.
  • STOP: For new sign.
The Observer’s first incident with real road rage, the kind we usually read about — fortunately, no deadly weapons involved here, just a war of words — dissipated into a raging political battle before it was over. Road-Rager became upset with The Observer for cutting in front of him on Third Street, heading east. That wasn’t The Observer’s intent, but with another car slowing suddenly ahead in our lane, we spotted what we thought was enough room to move into the left lane, we put our blinker on and went ahead. Road-rager didn’t like it, to say the least, laying on his horn, turning left with us onto Main Street and roaring up to the side of our vehicle, screaming epithets, threatening to fight. Well, bring it on, we said, and Road-Rager obliged, pulling past and getting out of his car, calling us more names as he approached our window, then he made fun of us for not getting out too and jumping straight into a Main Street rhubarb. Then we noticed the sticker in the back window: Bush-Cheney 2004. Yes, we could’ve have kept quiet, let Road-Rager just rant on until he exploded right there in the middle of the street, but we couldn’t help ourselves. “So, I’m a dumbass, huh? Well, looks like you’re the dumbass if you’re voting for Bush and Cheney,” we said. Road-rager’s face now flushed from scary red into dangerous purple. “You’re a Democrat, too! Cut me off and you’re a Democrat, too! Figures … .” More name-calling and threats followed, so The Observer began easing his car through an opening and moved out, having had enough. “Where’re ya going? Thought you wanted to fight,” Road-Rager screamed, waving his cellphone, offering to call in the cops to settle this if fists couldn’t. Where were we going? Early voting crossed our minds. Maybe Kerry-Edwards headquarters? The nearest police station? The friendly confines of our office, and quickly? The Observer decided anywhere was better than spending any more time debating Democratic tendencies to maneuver through traffic and Republican tendencies to wage unilateral war. The city has made a com-mendable move to halt pedestrian rage — no, make that fear — at the corner of LaHarpe Boulevard and President Clinton Avenue. Whether for us (the citizens) or them (the visitors coming for the library), it matters not. Until now, the crosswalks’ walking men at this corner have appeared for roughly 2 seconds before the orange stop hand slapped them down. We pedestrians have been gambling that can we make it across the street before that semi hits us, and some of us have come up with snake eyes. But, just last week, new lights were installed, and their walking men (and orange hands) are accompanied by a countdown indicating exactly how many seconds you have to get across the street. At 13 seconds to go, the hand replaces the man. Hey, cell-phone drivers turning right into pedestrians, give it a glance. It shows a walking man, not a smear, in the street. Seen on the message board of a church in Northwest Arkansas: “God won’t forget how you vote.” But will He help with recounts? The Observer would rather have read, “The end is near.” Seen on a day-glo poster in a front yard on Van Buren Street: “Tacky Republicans stole my Kerry-Edwards sign.” Also reprted: “You can steal my sign but you can’t steal my vote,” in a Republican yard. Seen at the corner of Markham and Van Buren Street: A driver giving the finger to a group of kids waving “Kids for Kerry” signs. More than tacky.

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