Some of you may not know this about me, but I am well versed in the Crossing Guard arts. In fact, I have my own Crossing Guard name - Chris Cross.
“There’s an art to being a Crossing Guard?” you may be asking yourself. Oh yes my friends, there is.
First of all, not every one can make a fashion statement wearing a neon-green vest. Apparently, I know how to work it, because I have a few admirers. The first of my fans made himself known to me during my first week on the job. I was standing on the corner working (so to speak), when a scruffy looking guy in a rusty car slowed down. With a voice that sounded like he had gargled with rocks that morning, he said, “It’s about time they got a good lookin’ crossing guard in this town!”
“Um...thanks, but not a very nice thing to say about my fellow workers.” I replied. Clearly this man needed to get his eyes checked if he thinks I am the cream of the crop
This same gentleman has driven past other times, usually slowing down to give me the thumbs up, which is something that never fails to impress us ladies. I had to stop him once so I could cross some kids, and when I was done, he yelled out enthusiastically, “Good Job!” like I had just performed brain surgery or completed a really good dismount from a balance beam.
I have also noticed a few appreciative looks from borough workers driving by in their work trucks, who, like me, were sporting neon-green work clothes. There is the possibility that my ego is getting the better of me, though. They could just be snickering at the fool on the corner who is also forced to wear a fluorescent uniform.
Of course, like all of the other admirers in my life, none of these men were driving a Lexus and not one would ever be mistaken for George Clooney
You probably are wondering about now how one enters into the field of Crossing Guard technologies. It’s not easy, you know. There is a rigorous training program which consisted of the supervisor showing you the ropes.
“Oh, so you stand in the middle of the street and hold up the sign? Huh.”
“Yes,” says the CG Supervisor, “Make sure you hold the sign up so the cars can see it, oh…and so they don’t run you over.”
“And then you wait for the kids to cross before you put you sign down,” she ads. “Ohhhh,” I mean, what else is there to say, it’s pretty obvious that’s the whole purpose of the job.
I don’t mean to negate the importance of getting children safely across the street, but it really isn’t that complicated. You do need to keep a sharp eye out for the darters, though. I stopped a toddler once who was about to run out into the traffic. I saw him running towards the street and instinctively stuck my stop sign out which he promptly bounced off of. I probably saved him from being flattened, and it made a really cool sound when he hit my stop sign, too.
My favorite part of my job, besides the ultra-hip vest, is getting paid to yell at kids. As a mother of three, I have a lot of experience in this field and am quite proficient at it. When kids aren’t crossing the street properly, I get to yell at them to stay in the cross walk. They always listen to me, not only because of the awesome vest, but because I have the Mommy voice.
One day a kid started running out into the street at an angle and ten feet from the cross walk. A police car just happened to be the vehicle that he ran in front of. I made the child come back to where he started and walk in the cross walk. The Officer rolled down his window and said, “Nicely done.” It’s great to be acknowledged for a job well done by a fellow officer. Well… I technically do work for the police department, so that makes me an honorary policewoman, right? Well, maybe not, but I think I should at least get a badge…or a gun. Yeah, a gun would be awesome because I could shoot out the tires of all those idiots that go over 15 mph in the school zone.
Another wonderful thing about being a CG is that everyone waves at me. People I have never seen before in my life wave and I still have no idea why. Maybe I look lonely standing there by myself on the corner, I don’t know, but I kind of like it because it makes me feel very popular, and all that waving makes me feel like a beauty queen.
There is also some unwritten rule that CGs and school bus drivers must wave at each other. I think that it is a sort of solidarity between two professions who deal with crazed children. Or perhaps a secret signal meaning, these kids are driving me nuts, so meet me at the bar after work!
One other perk to my job is that I get a lot of Holiday and end-of-the-year gifts, even from kids I have never helped cross. I have received many pretty packages filled with chocolate and coffee, as well as some gift certificates for Dunkin Donuts. Obviously, those parents see the merit in me being very alert while crossing their darlings across the busy streets.
There are a few drawbacks to being a CG, though. The worst is having to stand out in the rain and the cold. After a while, you do get used to frostbite. What you don’t get used to is the fact that people feel a need to tell you that you are standing out in the rain, as if the water filling your boots isn’t enough of a reminder.
All in all, I do like being a crossing guard. I enjoy the cute kids and helping to make sure that they get home safe, and I love that I get to wear neon on a daily basis. And I dream that some day they might give me a badge and a gun.
Well, they probably won’t give me a gun, but the badge would be nice.