When Life Gets Hectic

WHAT IS IT about autumn that makes time accelerate? Even the squirrels seem rushed, scuttling about as they pile up their nuts for winter.

For humans, it’s more complicated, of course — although seemingly just as nuts. Parents race between school and work. Kids race to their sporting events and big social functions. We’re stressed out, racing about, and we haven’t even hit the holidays yet.

Life in the fast lane can spawn accidents. Take the terrifying incident in Montclair the other day, where a pedestrian was pinned between two cars. Witnesses say the woman was standing between two parked vehicles, talking to a friend, when the SUV in front of her started its engine.

The driver apparently didn’t see the woman and the woman wasn’t aware that the driver was backing up. Suddenly, she was being crushed between tons of metal and her blood-curdling screams brought the driver to a screeching halt. Thanks to the clear heads of a few passersby, she was freed when they physically lifted the unoccupied car behind her. It’s a lesson for all of us — to slow down and be aware of our surroundings.

E-MAIL BAG: Reaction continues to pour in regarding my recent column on aging sidewalks in Oakland.

DeAnna Wilkins says she’s been trying to get the city Public Works Department to fix a broken curb in front of her house since 1998. The irony is, the curb started crumbling after a city truck backed up on it — an incident that at least one neighbor witnessed. After repeated calls to city officials, Wilkins finally got a response the other day. But it wasn’t the one she wanted.

“They sent me a notice saying that I was responsible for repairing the strip!” she says, exasperated with the whole situation.

Meanwhile, reader Larry Jacobs writes: “Regarding the terrible condition of the sidewalks, it dovetails nicely into the pot-holed condition of the roadways. And the decrepit condition of the schools … and on and on.”

Jacobs says we complain, but are unwilling to tax ourselves to pay for these infrastructure improvements.

“When you try to operate a government on a shoestring, you get poor service,” he laments.

CAFFEINATION STATIONS: Where does the highly caffeinated crowd go now that Peete’s is temporarily closed in Montclair? Apparently, it’s Nelly’s Java, which has seen a big boom in business since its rival started a recent remodel. One longtime Nelly’s customer said she can hardly get her favorite table since the extra customers started coming. For her part, though, I’m sure Nelly hopes her Peete’s customers will be re-peats.

RUMOR MILL: Speaking of coffee, rumor has it that Starbucks is opening a kiosk in the Montclair Albertson’s. It’s not true, a customer service rep told me the other day. He said a Starbucks kiosk was sitting in their garage, but it was going to another store.

“There wouldn’t be room in our Albertson’s” he says, “especially with the long deli cases.”

HALLOWEEN CARNIVAL: If you love Halloween as much as I do, then head down the mountain to the little school in the Redwoods this weekend. Canyon School’s annual Halloween carnival is this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features live music, a barbecue, games and the best haunted house in the hills and beyond. With Pinehurst Road still closed for slide repairs, you’ll have to take Redwood Road to get there, but it’s worth the drive. Happy haunting!


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