Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #28

Thirteen Things I Will Not Miss About the Weekly Walk to the Library

1. These steps both coming and going. You can see they were measured by their builder with a ruler borrowed from Alice in Wonderland between her sips from the 'Drink me' bottles. Dragging a wheeled bag up or down them is an adventure in Wonderland. It's a wonder I still have an intact face.

2. This speed bump at the bottom of the hill at the entrance to the trailer park often catches me unawares. To my undoing. The hill itself is a daunting climb in the aftermath of a virus. Which occurred at least six times this winter.

3. At the top of the hill, turning onto Fern Valley Road, the two lane track that siphons traffic between I5 and Highway 99, I must squeeze myself and rolling book bag between a power pole and a chain link fence.

4. this is the stretch of Fern Valley Road looking back at the same power pole. As you can see there is no sidewalk. Mud and gravel is always clogging my book bag's wheels. Traffic is often bumper to bumper through here and on rainy days the unpaved area is usually a big mud puddle.

5. Still on Fern Valley Road, approaching the gas station on the corner. When the refueling truck is there it's back bumper is flush against the white line, forcing me to wait for a lull in traffic so I can get around it. The fumes leave me disoriented and dizzy if not outright gagging.

6. At the far side of the gas station after traversing the length of its lot whose edge is essentially one wide driveway bordering on Fern Valley Road which cars can enter or exit at any angle or speed that suits them. Now I must lift my rolling book bag over this curb and over the expanse of gravel to reach the wheelchair accessible ramp that surely can't be accessed by a wheelchair bound person coming from anywhere but the crosswalks themselves. Go figure. It is at this intersection that I am often forced to contend with a car stopped for the light with its bumper half into the crosswalk. I kept hoping it would happen on one of the three trips I took with the camera in the last two weeks so that I could get a picture of one and then make a dramatic point of taking another pic of its license plate. Beats giving their paint job the white cane treatment.

7. This is the corner cat-a-corner from the gas station after I've crossed both Hwy 99 and the shopping center driveway. Here I have just had to maneuver myself with bag and cane past this sign which has been placed across three quarters of the sidewalk, leaving maybe two feet between it and the curb. I've caught my cane on the struts or that brick weighting it down more than a few times, which jars my wrist and occasionally yanks it out of my hand. Again, wheelchair accessible ramps which hardly look accessible. Makes you want to find the persons with the bright idea and ask: What were you thinking?

8. I turned on a dime after taking the last pic to get this one. Now I'm headed down Hwy 99. This stretch is also know as the Main Street of Phoenix. This is one of the worst obstacle courses of the entire route and it's never the same twice. I will never understand why, with every other slot empty, someone insists on using the slot directly in front of the power pole and then hanging their bumper over the sidewalk. After getting past this, I must pass the bus stop. Though empty when this pic was taken, there can be a crowd there, along with their bikes, scooters and strollers. On the far side of the shelter is a trashcan which is never quite in exactly the same spot. A major nemesis for the visually impaired.

9. Two blocks beyond that bus stop is this street. On rainy days it is an archipelago of puddles, the largest in the gutter on this side is often several inches up the wheelchair ramp. There is a power pole just to my left which narrows the path. There is no signal. I keep forgetting that I need to stop and look behind me to check for any vehicles signaling a right-hand turn. A turn they can make without coming to a complete stop. That power pole can block our view of each other. I can't tell you how many times I've stepped off that curb only to feel the breeze made by a turning car directly in front or behind me. I wonder if any of them were as startled as I was. If they even saw me.

10. Directly across that street is this power pole sprouting, as they all do, from the middle of the sidewalk. This one is extra large and blocks the view of the sidewalk beyond. You never know what could be coming around it or from which side--bikes, scooters, wheelchairs, strollers, shopping carts, a clump of high-school kids under a haze of funky smoke. Directly on the other side is a large green metal box. To the right, that white curved shape you see is the edge of a propane tank. Beyond it is a driveway leading from the post office about half a block to the right, which is often used by delivery vans and patrons of the post office or that little shop visible there.

11. This is a couple of blocks further on but looking back the way I just came. This is one of three sets of these benches in a two block stretch. They are not bus stops. I guess they are intended as a place to rest. I never see anyone sitting on them. I don't wonder, what with the noise and fumes of the traffic whizzing by just a foot or two away. I have sat on them a few times when I was hard up for a rest but it is far from relaxing. They are an especially insidious obstacle, being of a color that blends with the cement and a height to sock me good in the gut if I walk into them full speed ahead. The loss of my peripheral vision is much worse on the bottom than the top or either side.

12. My white cane was made to fold up. But the elastic cord strung through its hollow sections has long since died, forcing me to tape the sections together. Which makes getting in and out of vehicles interesting unless I untape the middle section so I can fold it in half. Which weakens the tape. Which leads to this annoying tendency to come apart and go limp as a wet noodle on me at the worst possible moment. Like in the middle of a crosswalk? Or when testing the distance of pole or curb? It takes two hands to put it back together. But my other hand is almost always pulling a bag. In Snoopy's immortal words: Arrrgghh!!

13. And finally we reach the destination itself. You might be surprised to see the library pictured in a list of things I won't miss. Well, it is not the library per se. It is this old, musty building which has been our temporary quarters for the last ten months. The odor of mold is nasty strong on warm days. I tend to spend several days with a sore throat and sinus headache after exposure to it.

Does the fact that I was willing to put up with all this and more nearly once a week for nearly six years give you an idea of how important having library access is to me?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. amy 2. PresentStorm 3. Susan Helene Gottfried 4. Nancy J. Bond 5. Raggedy 6. Donna 7. L^2 8. Gattina 9. Jamie 10. Mercy's Maid 11. Daria

(leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

11 tell me a story:

Unknown 4/12/2007 10:02 AM  

Neat list! thanks for posting and including your pictures

Tracy S 4/12/2007 10:19 AM  

lol I love your sense of humor....

The Alice in Wonderland had me chuckling

Happy TT :)

Susan Helene Gottfried 4/12/2007 10:51 AM  

Wow. Man, if I didn't admire you before this, I sure do now.

Happy TT! I'm glad you visited; give Trevor a chance; he'll either grow on you or toss you in bed and THEN grow on you (uhh... no pun intended there). He's a good egg in a bad boy's body. Just wait; you'll see.

Nancy J. Bond 4/12/2007 11:55 AM  

It's not hard to tell how much you love your library! I admire your strength, determined to get there, despite the obstacles in your way. Literally. Happy TT!

Raggedy 4/12/2007 12:02 PM  

You went through so much to visit your moldy library!
You are very brave.
Terrific Thursday Thirteen!
Thank you for your visit.
Have a wonderful day!
Happy TT'ing!
(")_ (")Š

Donna. W 4/12/2007 1:32 PM  

Cute entry. And I thought only Missouri had streets and roads in that kind of condition.

L^2 4/12/2007 2:01 PM  

Thanks for sharing your journey to the library. As a pedestrian myself I can absolutely sympathize with you. Vehicles sitting in cross walks at intersections and obstacles like signs and poles in the middle of sidewalks are two of the big things my dog guide Willow and I encounter quite often. And drivers here are so disrespectful of pedestrians. Thankfully I have Willow to help me navigate the crazy traffic. She doesn't like puddles either, which makes her an expert at guiding both of us around them on rainy days.
Happy TT and thanks for visiting my list! :-)

Gattina 4/12/2007 2:31 PM  

You really must love your library ! What I love in mine here it's the good smell of all these books !

Jamie 4/12/2007 9:04 PM  

Sis, we must get you a folding cane, and get rid of the one that you can't fold. Great list.

Mercy's Maid 4/13/2007 8:36 AM  

Wow, those are some big obstacles...I especially "liked" the picture of the power pole in the middle of the sidewalk. What a terrible design!

Anonymous,  4/15/2007 10:57 AM  

Ah, the things we do for the love of books and it doesn't help when Murphy is dogging your heels with his *laws*. Any chance of a bookmobile starting up in your area?

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