We live in a cul de sac. Cul de sacs tend to be popular neighborhoods for little kids — after all, there is no through traffic — and our street is no exception.
Turtle Boy on the cul de sac
Several months ago two of our neighbors who have two very young kids added something new to our neighborhood at the entrance to our cul de sac. Bright green, sporting a red cap, an orange flag, and a “Slow!” sign, it appeared in the center of the road one night as I came home from work. You have to slow down to maneuver around him, which obviously is the idea. Kish and I call him “Turtle Boy” because of his bright green coloring and slightly hump-backed appearance.
I don’t mind Turtle Boy. I like seeing that parents care enough about their kids to invest in a sign designed to slow down traffic. Obviously, individuals can’t be permitted to clog our streets with signs of their own devising, but there really is no risk of that in this case. This is just an instance of parents with toddlers protecting their offspring. I also like that the parents showed a kind of “can-do” attitude and took effective steps themselves. In his own silent way, Turtle Boy is a kind of tribute to the American spirit.
Thank God! Resolute action on this crucial issue is long overdue. For years, Americans in countless college towns have had to live with the threat of beer-soaked couches serving as the breeding grounds for new forms of bacteria and potential pestilence, of diligent students being overcome by noxious fumes emanating from the mildewed orange artificial fibers on exposed and threadbare sofa armrests, and of the traffic hazards posed by chunks of styrofoam pulled from the burst sides of cheap cushions rolling through the city like sagebrush tumbling through the dusty streets of Laredo. Now we can only hope that local government officials in college towns will turn to other weighty matters, like cracking down on the appearance of troubling garden gnomes and the sale of cheap foreign-made Che Guevara t-shirts that shrink five sizes after just one washing.
Of course, you would expect that far-sighted public servants in a town like Ann Arbor would take the lead on the pressing topic of outdoor davenport regulation. The only weird thing is that one of the big safety concerns with college porch couches is that excited students might set the furniture ablaze after a big home team sports win. Why would Ann Arbor council members have any concerns on that score?