My patience is wearing thin with the citizens of tomorrow.
On my way home this afternoon, in my high-powered T-Hoe, driving on a new strip of lovely wide concrete outer road behind the high school of the district in which I live (NOT Newmentia), I nearly squished a teen.
This school has a cross-country team, which has traditionally been one of the top teams in the state. I'm not sure about recent years, because I don't follow that sport or that district. Because of past success, the school has no shortage of students who turn out for cross country. On our way through one of their feeder towns every day after school, we see the middle school kids out running past the library, past the remodeled elementary, past the firehouse, presumably to the park. They stick together, five or six boys and five or six girls. There are probably more, but some groups forge ahead.
Five miles further, I turned onto the new section of road. It's wide enough for four cars abreast, though it is marked as a regular two-lane road. Three high school girls ran toward me on the right side right-of-way. They were far enough on the shoulder that cars did not have to swerve away from them. They were running toward traffic, chatting.
A half mile later, I came upon two boys running single file. They were on the left side, running away from me, facing traffic on their side. They were running on the pavement. The road itself. There is no paved shoulder, just grass. A school bus was several car-lengths ahead of me, and had passed on into the roundabout. The lead runner suddenly darted across the center line and into my lane, still with his back to me, never once having turned to look. I know, because I had my eye on him the whole time. Kids are unpredictable in traffic, even high school kids.
I slammed on T-Hoe's anti-locks, and Running Buddy yelled at Doofus. Doofus did an about-face back over the center line. Even at the speed of 30 mph (that's a must, the coppers hide out on that section all the dang time), T-Hoe could not stop in time to avoid Doofus had he continued.
In my mirror, I saw Doofus and Running Buddy had reversed their direction, and were running back toward the school in my lane, still on the pavement. After my heart crawled out of my throat and back down behind my ribs, the reason for Doofus's doofusness began to seep into my returning consciousness.
Doofus was wearing a sock cap (or beanie, as the cool kids call it now) with earbud wires hanging down. Nothing like running on the roadway while unable to hear approaching traffic which you are too lazy to look for. He might as well swim the English Channel while wearing a straight-jacket. Run the Boston Marathon in leg irons. Read the expanded, uncut edition of The Stand in the Cathedral Room of Marvel Cave after hours.
Kids have got to learn that their gadgets are not appendages. There are right times and wrong times to use them. Sigh. It's so hard to get through to them, because they're always texting or thinking about texting or listening to music or playing Angry Birds.
Who will wipe our butts when we're in the nursing home?