LJWorld.com weblogs Rolling along
You talkin' to me?
Sometimes when I ride, I hear voices.
Now, relax. It’s not like Son of Sam, who claimed he killed because a dog told him to.
I find it hard to believe man’s BFF ever would say such a thing. Personally, I think the guy was a little, you know, out there. Son of Sam, I mean. Not the pooch.
Besides, I have a cat.
Or, to be more accurate, my wife has a cat.
And it doesn’t speak to me.
If it did, it wouldn’t tell me to kill.
It might say, “Go away. No, wait, feed me first. Then go away. No, wait. Dote on me! Now leave. Pet me. Not there, stupid human! Pet me here. Not there, here! Now go away.”
But I digress.
About those voices … the first time, I was at Iowa and Ninth. It was around 1:30 a.m., and there wasn’t a soul — or talking dog — in sight. I was waiting for the light to change (or, more accurately, making sure there was nobody around to see me run the light, because I never could trigger it to change), and I heard a man’s voice, seemingly right in my ear.
My head snapped left, then right. Nope, nobody in sight, yet there was this voice, clear as day — extolling the virtue of some sort of gasoline or motor oil or somesuch. One of the gas stations along Iowa had a recording. I’ve experienced them before. During the day, I have no problem tuning out their recurring litany of hot-dog shilling, but at night … well, let’s just say it scared the bejeebers out of me.
Similarly, one early morning late last fall, about the same time of morning, I rolled to the flashing red light at Sixth and Kentucky. I looked left, then right. Just as I was about to roll onto Sixth, a booming male voice intoned, “The walk sign is on to cross Sixth Street. The walk sign is on.”
I’m not normally the sort to freak out, but I just about jumped out of my skin.
Head on a swivel, I searched frantically for the source of my torment before the words sunk in.
Yep, I’d been punk’d by the city’s talking crosswalk, two blocks away.
I’ve since learned the folks that the yapping signal is supposed to benefit — blind people — are torn over The Voice. Though it was requested by a blind person, others say it’s more of a detriment because it drowns out traffic sounds.
I recently went on a fact-finding mission to the intersection and waited for The Voice.
Before long, Mr. Roboto was bugling in my ear, “THE WALK SIGN IS ON … ”
I’m not taking sides on the controversy, but I can say with all certainty if The Voice is loud enough to make me jump from two blocks away, it’s plenty loud to drown out crucial car noises up close.
Fortunately for all of us, it’s not telling me to do anything I know I probably shouldn’t. Like kill the cat.