It's spring and I have my finger-wagging pants on! One question for people who live in the vicinity of cars and the question is, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Maybe I'm getting conservative in my moderately advanced dog years. I confess that on a stroll in Mount Vernon last spring, I espied a man's bare ankles and immediately took ill. The recovery process was arduous, requiring many bold soups and sets of lace curtains for peeking out of. I may not entirely be myself. If you have a car and you use it, could you please for the love of everything on the face of the earth pay attention to what you are doing? If you are a person anywhere near a car, could you also please pay attention because WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING?
Cars are just okay. They act like they are a super big deal, but they are not. And I am not afraid to tell cars how I feel. I will get up in some bumper and let fly with colorful language about how Cars Need To Simmer Down Already. They come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and levels of usefulness, and they act like they rule the road. There are even electric ones that don't make any sound, which is extremely unnerving. A Prius could sneak right up on you and you'd never know it. This is an unfair advantage since cars are already larger and heavier than human beings. There's probably a hybrid wagon lurking in the corner right now, watching you read this. If you sense the unseeing eyes of the 2016 model's Enhanced Parking Support feature probing you in judgement, confuse and annoy the offending Prius by throwing some unwrapped hard candies in its direction. You haven't lived until you've heard the sound of lint-covered Starlight Mints bouncing off the hood of a self-satisfied subcompact.
The problem is that cars keep crashing into stuff, and they show no signs of stopping. In February I saw a PT Cruiser drive into the side of a building! Right onto the curb and up against that fake brick like nobody's business. A week after that, some jagweed plowed into my neighbors' cars while they were parked. Pedestrians are not exempt, either. A police report about a hit-and-run that occurred at 33rd and Alameda cited "pedestrian error," which seems like a chilly term for jaywalking in a neighborhood where the crosswalks are few and far between. In Charles Village, where pedestrian safety concerns have spurred major reconstruction, I regularly witness people eyes-deep in their phones, stepping off the curb willy-nilly. Whether or not you've been on your phone at the time, you've probably wandered distractedly into the middle of the road at least twice today.
In case you were wondering, yes, I did put on an ill-fitting and itchy sweater to write this and, yes, I am shaking my fists at the sky whilst smelling strongly of something mentholated. I'm not standing up straight. My hair is sticky from some food item that I ate but cannot identify, and I have a fresh bag of Starlight Mints on my kitchen table. Later I am going to go downstairs in my scuffies, unwrap a Starlight Mint and put it in the pocket of one of my many baggy coats. I will forget which coat contains the mint, because I will only be concerned with what is happening in my immediate environment. And what is happening in my immediate environment is that everyone is driving like animals and walking around like idiots. Dogs in insurance commercials drive better than you guys, and they are fictional characters who only appear to be driving.
I know there's no guarantee that the earth won't explode in a ball of flame any minute now, and that I might be on the sidewalk deactivating my Tinder account at the precise moment that 3,000 pounds of poorly designed death machine pins me against a wall of beige formstone (in what might be an extremely Baltimore way to die). The Baltimore Sun reported that 2014 saw the least traffic fatalities (442) since 1948. As of March 2015, bicyclist deaths went to six in one year, down from seven deaths for four years in a row (2009-2013), and pedestrian deaths make up for about one-quarter of the total fatalities reported. The Sun also notes that the heaviest contributors to these statistics is "heavily populated suburbs" such as Baltimore County, confirming my suspicions that suburbs are extremely deadly and should be avoided at all cost. The solution is clear: Eradicate cars, suburbs and people. Leave the bicycles, buildings and sidewalks to hang out and do their own thing, without fear of being crashed into or having hard candies thrown in their direction. Why not? It's only a matter of time before the moon raises the level of our poisoned oceans to consume everything except Nebraska in what I'm already calling the Greatest Traffic Fatality of All. If you could give me a lift to the grocery store, I'd be happy to tell you more.