Daily Danger Zone – or another day, another walk to school.

[To better experience today’s essay, please fill your head with the loud sounds of honking cars…]

We live less than a block from Lulu’s elementary.   You might think that would make for a delightfully stress-free walk to school each morning.

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Lulu, standing just outside our palazzo – ready to run the gauntlet.

But we also live in Italy, where apparently it’s a good idea to create a chaotic intersection on a narrow hill street, just steps away from an entrance to a school.  So our walk is not so delightful.

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Cars converge from three directions at the base 17th century Roman Emperor, Ferdinand the Third.  Above him, it’s two-way traffic. Below him, just one-way.  There are no signal lights. No easy-to-read direction signs. And no sidewalks.

This is looking up the hill toward our house - the green shutters on the right.. yikes!
This is looking up the hill toward our house with the green shutters on the right.. yikes!

I tell Lulu to play “baby duck” – so she stays close to me in single duck-like-file. But many drivers still seem to close their eyes and put one hand on the horn and use the other to gesture for us to get out of their way.

Don't be fooled, this is not a sidewalk, just a little safety space next to the entrance of a lovely B&B. Lulu's school is the gate at the bottom of the hill.
Don’t be fooled, this is not a sidewalk, but it is the little safety space next to the entrance of our friend Barbara’s B&B – just below the intersection.  Lulu’s school is the gate at the bottom of this hill.

It’s nothing like the five-lanes of traffic I used to brave when I drove to work back in Washington, DC.  But this five-minute daily stroll with Death is heart pounding.  So far, we have cheated Him.

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Ferdinand getting his left traffic-waving hand repaired earlier this summer.

But our traffic monitor Ferdinand has not been so lucky.  When we first moved in, he only had a right hand.  And now, as he motionlessly waves us on with his newly attached left hand, I laugh to myself thinking he probably lost that hand…

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..by being hit by a car.

My hat is off to cross-walk guards everywhere! Salute!

Baci, Gina

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