Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 482

Creatives award

A piece that my lovely friend Kate Evans and I put together for Global Living Magazine about her expat experience in Botswana and the difficulty of coming back home has won a ‘creatives’ award. How lovely!

See the award here 🙂

Good to be curious!

Good to be curious!

Confederate flag at school football game

There was some controversy in Howard County recently when a student unfurled a Confederate flag at a high school football game.

The student displayed the flag while standing at the top of the bleachers during the season opener between Glenelg and River Hill high schools last Friday night. The student was immediately told to take the flag down.

Controversial, as you can imagine

Controversial, as you can imagine

Ken Ulman, Chief Executive of Howard County says this: “My response to the incident that happened during a recent HCPSS football game: “Public displays of the Confederate Flag evoke division, hate and subjugation — precisely the opposite of the values we hold in Howard County, and in Maryland. We must teach our kids why this is such a hurtful symbol to so many people. We must fight against injustice and intolerance in any form, especially at our schools.”

Ray Rice

An American friend asked me what I thought of all the Baltimore Ravens/Ray Rice debacle happening in America this week.

I honestly couldn’t give a flying oojamaflip about American football, but I do give a flying oojamaflip about domestic violence.

So, I responded thus in my best British, pulling out my very best British vocabulary, much as I would back home if some over-paid knob-head tosspot had punched his girlfriend in a lift or an elevator or wherever:

‘What an utter w*nker.’

Please feel free to adopt this phrase, America.

Pedestrian crossings in suburban America

I was under the impression that a pedestrian crossings in suburban America, where I live, that the pedestrian has the right of way. I think Americans call them ‘crosswalks’, but whatever they are called, there is this sign clearly displayed:

I think this is pretty clear!

I think this is pretty clear!

Yesterday evening I let my son walk to the Back to School party ‘on his own’. I stood 20 feet behind him as he waited to cross the road at a pedestrian crossing. Four cars went speeding straight over the crossing while he waited.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen drivers ignore people at pedestrian crossings here. I see it nearly every day. One car nearly rammed me up the arse when I stopped for a mum pushing a buggy last week. Sigh.

The majority of drivers here do stop, but it’s a bit hit and miss (pun intended) as to whether they will or not. My American friend says this: ‘I’m always shocked whenever in Europe and people stop for pedestrians waiting to cross. Not sure why people don’t comprehend that here.’

And a visiting Brit commented thus: ‘I was surprised by the lack of pavements when I was in your area….perhaps few people walk alongside roads these days….but mostly surprised when people didn’t stop their cars for others to cross the road…maybe living in the UK this becomes part of normal life/behaviour?’

I think it’s the fact that walking is not the norm here; everyone is in their cars, so there is little expectation or room for anticipation for someone to actually be at a pedestrian crossing.

Anyway, my comment on this is: Slow the frigging hell down drivers and stop at the crosswalk!

#rantover 😉

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13 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 482

  1. Mindy Helms says:

    Yes, pedestrians do have the right of way, and drivers should stop. Of course, they need to follow the rules in the crosswalk as well and cross with the light/not jay-walk. I’ve seen both with inconsiderate/spaced out pedestrians!

  2. Andy says:

    I read some of the comments on your post to the Clarksville community site about the crosswalks. People get very self-righteous about the silliest things don’t they… never interfere with Americans right to drive where they want and as badly as they want.

    Maybe you should cross the road while waving a confederate flag – that should rile them all up. 😉

  3. Saw this video on the difficulty of being a royal guard and thought I would share it with you.

  4. Mindy Helms says:

    Oh, and the utter wanker who almost rammed you up the arse was probably texting while driving. sigh….

  5. Mindy Helms says:

    You’re teaching me well! 😉

  6. EmmaK says:

    On the street where I live the cars practically never stop at the pedestrian crossing when you are waiting to cross or crossing the road. You just have to tell your kid, just wait until there are NO cars coming before you cross the road. Just don’t expect them to stop, for some reason most people don’t know/care that they should stop.

  7. VictoriaK says:

    Our US house was on a corner and a half-block from the elementary school, and apparently the STOP sign was only a suggestion for crazy parents as they whipped around the corner to pick up their little darlings from school (rather than, say, letting them walk home). Here in Austria drivers stop well in advance of pedestrians (and dogs, as many are off-leash trained) even approaching a crosswalk. Perhaps the awareness has something to do with a driving lessons costing ~$2000, licenses being granted later (age 18), and the fines for infractions being equally as steep?

  8. As a pedestrian you can stand by the side waiting to cross all day. What you need to do is take one step (safely) off the curb. Nearly always works.

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