It’s 4:30AM on a beautiful night. Music is blasting, frisbees are flying. This is Relay for Life at the University of Louisville. 38 teams comprised of over 500 people gather to celebrate life and to raise money to fight cancer.
We walk all night to represent the fight cancer patients go through as they fight for their lives. At this point in the night we are all exhausted and count down the hours until this is all over. Knowing that we get to go home and relax in just a few hours if a relief. As I walk I think that if only cancer patients had it so ready. They don’t get to tag team someone else to fight for them. That don’t get to decide they’ve had enough and go home or fall asleep in a tent for a few hours break.
My walking had left me with a blister that may take a day or two to heal. That’s two days of hobbling around in pain, but then it’s over and done -a short-lived reminder of my own fight against cancer- if only cancer followed the same schedule.
It’s 5:20 PM on a Tuesday and I find myself standing in the middle of a busy road and praying that no one hits me. If I had a list of top ten places I never want to be again this would make it somewhere around 7.
But, how’d you end up there? Why would you do something so crazy as to stand in the middle of the road in rush hour traffic you ask? Let me go back a bit.
Parking at UofL stinks around 11 AM. I have long since given up parking in the Floyd garage, although that was the whole reason I coughed up the $126 to buy a green parking pass. Instead, I park in a lot that is a bit of a walk away from my first class, but close enough to my last class of the day.
Normally, this would be ideal. I don’t mind a bit of a walk. But recently, construction in the area has made what should be a five minute stroll into a hellish 15 minute nightmare.
To get to the lot students must walk – let’s estimate about a block – in the wrong direction (as in away from the lot) then cross the street. So now students are walking an extra two blocks and are on the wrong side of the street. Great start.
Now, once we get past all the yellow tape and orange cones that warn unassuming pedestrians of the catastrophe that was once a sidewalk, we must cross the street. No problem. Sometimes there is even a handy-dandy crossing guard.
So, my question is this: why on earth would the crossing guard, who sits in the car during the slowest parts of the day to stop traffic for students leave when needed most??
I am not a brave person. I will walk out of my way to find a cross walk and wait for the traffic light, even if the street is empty. So, imagine my peril when not only is there no cross walk to speak of, but traffic is constant and the crossing guard I was counting on is not there.
I wanted to cry. Instead, I waited until one side of the street was empty – thank goodness for traffic lights even if they are a block away. I walked purposefully into the middle of the road and stopped.
I kept looking over my shoulder waiting for some inattentive driver to slam right into me. Traffic in the final two lanes I had to cross just kept going on as if I wasn’t there. Wonderful. So much for pedestrian right of way. I half expected the TARC driver to let me cross, since surely he or she must be used to students having to cross the street at this location. Nope. Thankfully, the car behind the TARC stopped and waved me across, and just in time.
The lane I had been standing in was suddenly in full swing again. I still shudder when I think of it. I would like nothing more than to avoid that parking lot for the rest of the time it takes the workers to get the sidewalks straightened out, but unfortunately for me, this isn’t going to happen.
The next best thing would be for a crossing guard to stick around and make sure no students get hit by the cars racing through the area. Let’s put it this way – I’m not holding my breath, but I will be writing to public safety.
I’m not keen on breaking any bones in the foreseeable future. Any suggestions?