Well, there I was, gearing up for a battle royal, when the telephone rang.
“Hello, Mrs. Levy,” said a man with a cordial voice. “This is [name omitted] from the Division of Traffic Control. I understand that you and your husband object to the ‘Blind Person Area’ sign near your home and that you wish to know who requested that it be placed there.”
“Uh,” I replied, wishing that my words would not fail me so abysmally, “yes, that’s true.” Something told me that it would be okay to take off my boxing gloves. I was right. I am stunned.
The voice continued smoothly, “No problem. And we want to apologize if the sign offended you. It will be removed promptly.”
“It will?” I echoed, almost disappointed that my cause célèbre was about to evaporate.
“Yes, ma’am. And you have every right to know who requested the sign in the first place. His name is [name omitted] and he lives at [address omitted]. Do you know him?”
“Never heard of him in my life,” said I.
“Really? We assumed he was your friend,” the man replied. (Oy, with friends like these…) “And since he was bringing such a sensitive matter to our attention, we rushed to take care of it. By the way, he also requested that a stop sign be placed at the same location.”
I immediately informed my gentleman caller that we would be fully in favor of a stop sign, something that could benefit every driver and pedestrian. Then I tried to explain that the “sensitive” thing to do when a community member requests a sign of relevance to a third party is to consult with the third party before taking action. After several reiterations, I was left with the sobering impression that the caller had not absorbed my definition of sensitivity.
Before concluding our call, I brought up our interest in a traffic light at the other end of our block, where the perpendicular traffic of West Broadway is harrowing. I was given the name and address of the appropriate contact person at our county’s Department of Public Works. Yet one more item on my to-do list.
All of this occurred late Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday at about 1 p.m., my friend stopped by. Immediately upon entering, she commented, “Well, I guess Michael is no longer blind or no longer lives here.”
My eyes widened. My jaw dropped. “You mean…”
“Yup,” she replied, flashing a conspiratorial grin. “It’s gone.”
The only downside to this dénouement is that I had to tell Michael that he would never have his chance to be photographed — as he had been gleefully planning for weeks now — sitting behind the wheel of his friend’s car several feet in front of the yellow sign that is no more.