Don’t get me wrong, I love the actual city of Savannah. It’s beautiful here, and I enjoy living among so much history. But man oh man, the people here lately have left me thinking that sometimes Savannah sucks.
Take this morning, for instance. I was driving downtown, which is a big tourist area. I’m on a road with a 25 mph speed limit, traveling the speed limit, and approaching an intersection with a traffic light. I have a green light, and so there is a do not walk signal for people who wish to cross my path. I get half way through the intersection, and some idiot twenty-something and his idiot girlfriend flat-out ignore the lighted sign directing them not to cross. They don’t even look as they stroll casually into the intersection, directly into the path of my vehicle. I apply the brakes and lightly tap my horn as if to say, “Hold up there, buddy– I have the right of way and if you go, there is a chance you’re going to get hit by my car.”
The response? Yeah, this prick gave me the finger. Come on, man– I have the right of way. You do not. You have the pedestrian equivalent of a red light. If you were even minimally observant, you would have seen the traffic signal requiring you to wait for a safe time to pass. If you were even minimally observant, you would have followed your mommy’s teachings and looked both ways before crossing the street. If you were even minimally observant, you would have seen the 2,000 pound chunk of metal and plastic less than twenty-five feet from you, headed straight towards you. Instead, you chose to put your life in my hands. And when I do the right thing and stop to wait for you, I am rewarded by having you give me the finger.
Or how about yesterday in the grocery store. I picked up a pack of buns just a few feet from the end of the aisle, and continued on my way. I got to the end of the aisle and made a right. I’m stopped dead in my tracks by a big fat man who is walking on the left side of the aisle. He was wide enough that I couldn’t go around him with my cart. Yes, that’s right– this man was wide enough that a cart could not pass beside him. He was practically a walking fire hazard. The man said, “Slow down,” as if he controlled the traffic in the grocery store. Well, Mr. Fatman, your excessive fatness had in fact already required me to come to a complete stop. If I was going any slower, I would be going backwards. If he was walking on the appropriate side of the aisle, or if he was only two feet wide instead of three feet wide, there would have been no issue. But alas he was walking on the wrong side of the aisle and was spanning most of that aisle. And he had the nerve to attempt to criticize me for trying to shop.
Or how about the complete idiots who keep turning down one-way streets? Two days in a row this week, I have been presented by vehicles whose drivers, while trying to get to the post office, prefer to try to save thirty seconds of driving by going the wrong way down a one-way street instead of going around the block and approaching from the proper direction. One was a couple in a car, sitting right in front of the federal courthouse, waiting until they felt it was safe to recklessly drive the wrong way down the one way. Not that their behavior was excusable, but the other vehicle that did the same thing the day before had even less of an excuse. It was a huge post office truck. Shouldn’t an employee of the post office know that there is an alley behind the post office that allows safe passage to the loading area? Shouldn’t an employee of the post office know that they could go around the block and approach the post office while traveling the proper way down the one-way? Apparently not. Either the driver was an idiot, or I stumbled upon the one quasi-government postal employee who was so concerned with government waste that a thirty-second trip around the block was not a reasonable trade off with general public safety.
Or how about the tourists who stand out in front of Paula Deen’s restaurant, the Lady and Sons? These folks line up starting at about 8:30AM to put in their name to eat at Paula’s buffet. I appreciate that they are here as tourists, but that doesn’t mean that everyone here is a tourist. On an average day, there is a hundred or more people lined up on the public sidewalk. This herd, apparently, takes the old adage of safety in numbers very seriously, for they walk back and forth across the public roadway– speed limit 25 MPH– like they are grazing. Come on folks– don’t make me hit you or your kids with my car. I really don’t want to. But if it wasn’t for me paying much more attention than them, I would have already hit numerous tourists. I hope it never happens, but it is inevitable that a tourist will eventually be killed while carelessly wandering in the road while waiting in front of the Lady and Sons.
Or how about Paula Deen and her staff, who are seemingly perfectly content in disregarding the safety of their patrons by encouraging people to line up on the sidewalk, directly adjacent to traffic, without offering warning signs directing people to stay out of the road, or a rope line preventing physical access to the road. I have an idea. Granted, I am not in the restaurant business, but in the past I distinctly recall that most restaurants take reservations over the phone. Not Paula and company– they let you line up like cattle waiting for the slaughter, effectively closing the sidewalk for anyone trying to pass her restaurant in their vein attempt to get from point A to point B. I guess public safety takes a back seat to Paula’s desire to sell souvenirs to tourists.
Or how about the City of Savannah itself? They have allowed Georgia Power– the company who has let our downtown literally ignite TWICE due to poor infrastructure– to close down a ton of roads while working, making it difficult for locals to conduct business. This is nothing new for the city. They closed down a number of roads and local businesses for several years while they built an ill-conceived underground parking garage, less than a half-mile from the river (yes, it flooded, so they had to implement a pumping system). There are still damaged buildings and roadways directly adjacent to the parking garage, with the damage having been caused by the digging of the hole for the parking garage. Once the parking garage was complete– well behind schedule– they closed down the easiest access road to that parking garage for over a month so they could put a Christmas tree that was literally in the middle of the street. We have dozens and dozens of public parks, most capable of holding a Christmas tree. Why close down the road? And they didn’t even do a good job decorating the tree, only putting lights on the upper left quadrant of the tree.
Back to Georgia Power, though. At one point last week, they had closed down the two main one-way streets headed into and out of downtown, which made getting around a huge inconvenience. There are at least a half dozen lane closures– most without detour signs or people guiding traffic around the closed lanes (as required by law)– at any given time. Add to that the fact that Georgia Power vehicles are taking up at least a dozen prime parking spots in a downtown area that is severely lacking in parking (and quickly dying as a result), and we have a miserable situation for people trying to patronize downtown businesses. And I don’t even want to get started on the quality of the work done by Georgia Power itself. I’ll just say that after they tear up roads and complete their work, the patch job they do are visually unappealing and likely of substandard quality. It kills me to see how crappy of a job these guys do with the money they collect via the excessive energy rates they charge me.
Anyway, I could go on and on, even more so than I already have. I, however, am sick, and need to sleep today. I’ll finish this post by reiterating my original point: Sometimes Savannah Sucks.
That is all.