Friday, June 30, 2006

It's A Jungle Out There

Ahhh - summertime in the Bay Area. As we set out for this morning's delivery the sky overhead was sparkling clear. A glance to the northwest showed the fog bank shrouding San Francisco and reaching out across the water toward Berkeley. Happily, we were headed southwest to Los Altos to cheer Steve on his last day at work.

I have a request for everyone, and this is not entirely motivated for my own convenience. Wait until it's really dark outside, then get in your car and drive around the block. As you approach your own home, try to see it as a stranger sees it. Can your house number been easily seen from the street? The key word here is "easily". Now try it coming from the other direction. You may be surprised at how difficult it is to see. The numbers should be in a color that contrasts with the background, large enough to read at a distance, and placed prominently on an unobstructed surface facing the street. An additional suggestion, have the number painted on the curb. If you have done this, is it still legible or has it worn off?

If everyone's address was clearly visible it would make my life considerably easier. But the real reason is in case of emergency. If you ever need to call 911 in the middle of the night, having an easily seen address could save emergency services valuable seconds in getting to you.
(This ends our public service announcement, thank you for listening)

You might suspect that we had a little trouble identifying the right house last night, and you would be right. Some people might find it a little suspicious to see two people walking up and down the street at 1:30am peering at mailboxes and tippy-toeing up to front doors. Why is it that in some neighborhoods, the mailboxes are located between the properties? Doesn't the USPS understand how aggravating it is to have to check out a half block of boxes to figure out on which side of the property the boxes are placed. It's like sitting down to lunch at a round table set for 10 people and trying to figure out which water glass is supposed to be yours. I can never remember if mine is to the right or left of the plate. I usually wait for someone else to make the first move.

Anyway - back to my story. By process of elimination we decided we'd found the right place. Fortunately the dog that started barking at our explorations belonged to a place down the street. DBFA finally found the address tucked up near the front door to confirm our guess. I never did see it. At last we were able to start planting birds. It is a beautiful lawn surrounded by an absolute jungle of shrubs bushes, trees and massive lavender plants in glorious bloom. While we were working a car turned into the street and drove slowly past - it was a Los Altos police cruiser. He didn't stop, but a few moments later he came by again going the other direction. I don't know if this is a regular part of the night's routine or if our house number search caused someone to call about suspicious activity. Apparently the officer didn't find two people pulling plastic flamingos out of an unmarked van at 1:30 in the morning to be anything to be concerned about. Or maybe he was trying to find an address.


kenju said...

That's good advice. Last Christmas, a friend gave me a hand-painted mailbox. There is very little room on the box for numbers, so I applied some 1" high, stick-on numbers in the bottom left corner of the box. A policeman came by and told me I ought to have larger letters on the mailbox post because they could never find me at night, if need be.

FlamingoAFriend-Pensacola said...

Amen on the street numbers. As a fellow flocker I have often thought that we ought to start some kind of campaign to help people become aware of how difficult it would be for 911 to find their house if were an emergency.

LilRed said...

Good call on the street numbers. I recently had mine painted on the curb for that very reason. BTW - Michele sent me. Pleased to greet ya!