I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and commute with 8 hojillion people to work over the Bay Bridge. This allows me lots of “think time” and time to judge what bumper stickers people put on their cars.* In my recent survey of bumper car stickers, I would say that about 9 out of 10 people in the Bay Area supported Obama (duh) and about 2 people with trucks enjoyed the likes of McCain. I also know that most Priuses (sp?) support NPR and that quite a few people enjoy broadcasting their stupid sexual nuances (e.g. “Nurses do it with patience!”) Ew.
Anyhoo…where was I going with this? Ah yes, advertisements on vehicles. I was behind this bus a while back that had a public service announcement that read:
Los ninos estan cayendo de las ventanas!
This, loosely translated, is “Children are Falling out of Windows!” There were these creepily drawn grotesque cartoon children featured, telling me in Spanish, to put screens on my windows. It was sponsored by Children’s Hospital of Oakland. I was stuck behind this bus for 45 minutes, and thus had the time to ponder:
1) Surely there isn’t such a high proportion of children falling out of windows in Oakland that it necessitates an entire public service announcement? I mean, really? I mean, one is too many, but this is shocking to me that a group of people chose this theme for a PSA.
2) IF there are a high number of children falling out of windows in Oakland, unless an unusually high proportion of these children are Latino, it is kind of insulting and/or racist to think that Latino parents wouldn’t think to keep their children from falling out of windows.
I then reached a fantastic 26 miles an hour and passed the bus. Didn’t think much about it until a couple of months ago….
I was working with this 9-year-old child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the super impulsive type. We had been working on study skills, executive functioning, and self regulation (how to calm yourself down and focus). We were working on the 4th floor (Face it. you know where this is going. You want to stop reading but you can’t help yourself), and I leaned down to get some materials out of my bag and when I looked up approximately 2 seconds later, he was across the room, HALFWAY OUT THE WINDOW, feet off the ground and everything. GAK!!! I didn’t think that he would do this, because he wasn’t Latino and he didn’t give me any sort of verbal indicator, like “look at the pretty birds outside!” or anything.
Then, those creepy grotesque cartoon children from the bus popped in my head and taunted me. I cursed the school I was working in for not having friggin’ screens on their windows. Surely this is some kind of OSHA violation?!?
And then I cursed myself for mocking the advertisement a few months ago. I hate Karma. Please excuse me, I am going to equip all my windows at home with screens now, and write a strongly worded letter (with angry font, like ARIEL BOLD ITALICS) to my local school district facilities department.
The funny part of this story is that after I pulled the kid back inside and told him in my best positive request/redirection teacher voice, “That’s not safe! Feet on the ground, now!” he said, “Relax. If I fell, and I lived, I would encourage my parents not to sue you, because it wouldn’t have been your fault.” Awesome.
*In addition to calculating my gas mileage, my car does this analysis of my average speed per tank of gas. It is 24.3 miles per hour. I take the HIGHWAY to work. Feel my pain.