A Cinema! & A Crazy, Mad-In-A-Hurry Driver

What to love and hate about living in East Greenwich this week.

RAVE: So, another boxplosion in North Kingstown. Isn’t there already a Wal-Mart less than 5 miles away (rhetorical question). But, I guess like diamonds and shoes, you can never have too many Big W’s. If they build it, we will come. It was this sort of ultra-expansion that inspired that very funny The Onion headline a few years back: New Starbucks Opens In Rest Room Of Existing Starbucks (http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-starbucks-opens-in-rest-room-of-existing-starb,560/?ref=auto).

I should admit at this juncture that I really got the point of Wal-Mart this summer when we were putting on a big shindig with 200+ people at our house and needed to find paper-ware, canning jars (don’t ask), balloons, mini cupcakes, watermelons and a slew of other objects cheaply and quickly.  Sam Walton became my hero.

Still, I don’t really think we need a surfeit of his mega stores to reap their benefit.

However, that’s North Kingstown’s problem.

What caught my eye was the cinema planned for our town. And I have only one word for that: Yay!

That said, it will probably be a southern copy of the Showcase that hovers on our northern Warwick border. While I love having a cinema up the road and I especially love cheap Tuesday nights, I do wish the offerings were a bit less consistently blockbuster. Still, yay! Because I also don’t think you can ever have enough cinemas. And anyway, the Odeum will soon be up and running and hopefully showing those art house films college students and people who take themselves too seriously love so much (OK, I admit it, I’m talking about myself - but then, I also love Johnny English movies, so go figure).

So again, yay! Because the other thing that the proposed cinema will have that the current one does not is a sidewalk that pretty much goes continuously from my house to its general location. So my not-yet-driving teenagers will be able to get there without cycling/skating/walking in the verge of a busy road (though they probably will still do that) and it will be one less place I have to drive. Blessings all around!

By the way, note to NK: when (and it probably will be when and not if) one of the Wal-Mart stores closes, maybe you can take a leaf out of the book of the Texan town who, when their Wal-Mart upsized to a bigger space up the street, transformed the vast empty storefront – which was too big for most retailers – into a town library. Actually, it seems this sort of big box repurposing is becoming common enough that a book has been written about it – Big Box Reuse by Julia Christensen. Maybe we should donate a copy to the NK Library.

RANT: This is a personal note to the idiot who cut me off this morning when I was driving west on Division. I had five kids in the car.

You did not use your signal and you swerved into my lane so quickly and unexpectedly that I was forced to slam on my brakes. Repeat – I had five kids in the car.

Dear driver, I am flattered that you put so much faith in my superior driving skills and the quality of my brakes to cope with your – not just bad (which I am guilty of often enough) but truly dangerous – driving. But I repeat again – I had five kids in the car. And in case you need a translation for that, here it is, free of charge: When you have five kids in the car, ranging in ages from four to fourteen, it means that you have probably already dealt with at least one – or, in my case that morning, all of the following: two arguing sibs, a deer making a suicide dash in front of my car, avoiding a driver who apparently felt that the red light system employed globally doesn’t really work for her, a crying four year old and a coffee spill. And here’s the real translation of all of that: none of it lends itself to the ultra-focused precision driving skills that your selfish stunt demanded.

So I really hope that getting ahead of the two cars that were apparently slowing you down and rushing to the traffic light (which was red) was worth risking not just the lives of the kids in my car but my life and the lives of the other drivers around you as well as, incidentally, your own life. I am old enough to remember that safety driving commercial where the car rushes through a red light; there’s a scream, a doll flying through the air and then, across the screen is flashed: WAS THE THIRTY SECONDS YOU SAVED WORTH THEIR LIFE? I wish they would bring that back.

And by the way, I do know your license plate (really, if you are going to invest in a vanity plate, you probably should make the effort to drive all that much more responsibly because, like a celebrity behaving badly, you will be remembered). I am pretty sure that I cannot legally publish the one word plate (anyway, I don’t want happening to me what happened to that Warwick guy who ended up in a road rage incident when a car tried unsuccessfully to speed past him, but let’s just say that if we were playing charades, I would indicate two syllables and mime that it sounds like “bunny.” 

HillResident September 29, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Good stuff, Lisa. Both Rave and Rant spot on!! As much as I don't want yet another big box store, the thought of another cinema close to town is very exciting....especially one that would potentially share a parking lot with a store, so kids could double up on activities without crossing major roads. And to the ding dongs who cut off other drivers to win the imaginary race to the red light, I hope your shoes are the next victim of the dog poo that gets left in my front yard by those other inconsiderate ding dongs.
Carl I. Hoyer September 29, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Lisa The ultimate offense would be the driver being on a cell phone (or texting) . Thanks for saying what so many of us think.
Michael A. Battey September 30, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I have not participated in a blog. However, I felt compelled to weigh in. I've not met the author, who appears nice, nor do I own a vanity plate, or know who the owner of said plate is; but it was troubling to see the thinly veiled attempt at identification. With apologies to Spiderman who said "with great power, comes great responsibility", I believe that those who publish have such responsibility. Blogs might be free-wheeling but are still deserving of editors. I have been impressed with this oversight with recent entries relating to a candidate running for school committee and prior to that-the promotional persona of another blogger. But, in this case, I think appropriate editing was lacking. We are all "victims" of others poor driving habits. Yet, I am equally convinced that few of us ever recognize our own imperfect road manners. We would be mortified if another driver chose to publicize our behavior in a biased and unilateral manner. This easy trap to fall into is what used to be referred to as yellow journalism, where one sensationalizes to discredit. Vengeance should be weeded editorially, avoiding unsubstantiated testimony. My advice when faced with egregiously dangerous drivers: instead of providing retributive clues as to the identity of your nemesis, simply take the time and garner the courage to bring your concern to the local police. This would be a more appropriate remedy than potentially abusing the imprimatur of media respectability and verisimilitude.
Michelle Smith Rapoza October 03, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Thank you Dr. Battey.
Elizabeth McNamara October 06, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Michael, Belated thanks for your comment. Two things: first a small but not insignificant point, Lisa is a columnist, not a blogger. Second, editing. I take my responsibilities as an editor seriously (although I admit the nature of this job leads me to move too fast sometimes). I tend to use a light editing hand, especially with writers like Lisa who I have come to trust. In truth, I couldn't figure out the word she was alluding to with any certainty, so I decided it was cryptic enough to leave in. Again, Lisa has proven herself to me over and over again, so I give her a pretty free hand. However, I love that you disagree. And that you wrote at such great length to disagree, and with such clarity! That is the stuff of real discussion.


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