THERE'S SOMETHING NEW in our neighborhood. We live in a quiet, residential area, but all of a sudden round-abouts have appeared in at least three intersections I've seen so far. My guess is that it's an attempt to tame some of the wild young drivers that speed through the area, especially after dark, in a sort of audible testosterone display. Some of the sounds are quite scary as the revved up engines roar and the brakes squeal through the quiet of the night, especially when I've parked our car on the street overnight to avoid a long walk to the parking lot the next morning. Wait long enough and the drivers grow up and leave the area to the next generation of hot-rodders.
When Tim and I went out on Sunday, even he couldn't resist going round 'n round 'n round just for the fun of it, so I can only imagine what creative, mischievous young folks might do. I'll be watching to see if flowers are planted in the centers and if not, I might have to take a stroll with some wildflower seeds.
It's put me in mind of our trip to England with Mr. Bob at the wheel of the rented car where roundabouts proved to be a challenge. One of my vivid memories is Christopher's low, calm voice saying, as we circled, "Dad, we're approaching our off-ramp again.....take it easy." We laughed a lot on that trip, mostly at poor Mr. B's expense. I remember tootling along through the city of York on a street closed to traffic and Chris saying, "Hold perfectly still, pretend we're mannequins and we're being delivered." to avoid the embarrassment of being observed by all those pedestrians.
And the night at dinner when a relaxed Mr. Bob observed that he'd finally gotten the hang of driving on the opposite side of the road and the way he stiffened immediately when Chris warned him that he'd have to unlearn it when we returned home.
I sat in the back seat with three maps spread out around me and saw more of the printed page than the scenery outside the window as I tried to give directions in a strange country. Another time I would take 2 magnets to mark the place from which I lifted my eyes so that I could readily resume map reading instead of searching among new-to-me town names to find my spot. And I would get one of those "L" signs to put in the rear window to signify that the driver was a Learner, but the truth of the matter is I'm sure we won't be driving through England again in our lifetime, so I pass along my experience to you to use as you see fit. I hope you get to go.
A roundabout is the name for a road junction in which traffic moves in one direction around a central island. The word dates from the early 20th century.