Well, maybe not really, but it’s always what I think when I see these ‘children crossing’ signs. I took this picture from the car on my way to the airport in Montego Bay. I’ve been meaning to take a picture of this sign for years. I want it to be accompanied with text: “Caution, cute and chubby little kids passing!”
And the school children are incredibly cute. On a cab ride back from town early in my trip, we stopped at the basic school to pick up the three-year-old daughter of our driver. She was beyond adorable: little green jumper uniform, white shirt, puffy braids and little barettes, black mary janes. Too cute. Our car was full (taxis here get packed to the gills. I always make sure to wait until I can have the front seat so that I don’t have to squeeze anyone in beside or on top of me). When we stopped at the school, we had four teenagers crammed into the back, and no more room. I said she could sit on my lap. She stood outside the car, checking me out, giving me a shy smile. I opened my arms for her and she smiled wider and accepted my embrace. I lifted and settled her on my lap and shut the door. I expected her to be a little squirmy — in the arms and on the lap of a stranger — but no, she leaned right back against me, her body limp and relaxed, and started playing with my bracelet. I felt that sad little reminder pang (“No, you won’t get to have one of these.”), but mostly I just felt comfortable, happy that she hadn’t hesitated to come sit with me, happy to have this adorable baby in my lap.
There’s a big problem with road safety in Jamaica, lots of billboards telling people to “Walk Good and Drive Good,” telling us that the children are our future … so we should be careful not to run them over on the road. Seriously. Of course, it might be safer for walkers and drivers if there were sidewalks anywhere, but I guess that hasn’t occurred to anyone yet. No, people just have to walk in the road and squeeze themselves into and against whatever is on the side of the road to avoid getting hit. The Dick and Jane Crossing sign is funny to me, but it’s really not funny at all. Little kids shouldn’t be out in the road, having to protect themselves against traffic. There are so many vehicular deaths every year. The chubby children sign is clearly not getting the job done.