Pet Peeves

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First One Here

by Mark D. Crantz
by Mark D. Crantz

I was on lower Park Street and reading the Indy’s “Downtown Street to Transform into a Plaza” when a motorist honked and yelled, “You’re early. Get out of the middle of the road. It’s not a plaza yet.” I feigned being deaf. The motorist threw a paper cup at me. I feigned being blind. The motorist threw a wine bottle at me. I pretended not to show disappointment that it was empty. The motorist ran over my feet. I acted like I didn’t have a sense of touch. The motorist blew foul smelling carbon monoxide at me. I pretended to have no sense of smell. I smiled and pretended to like large carbon footprints. The motorist threw a half an eaten burrito at me. I pretended I had no sense of taste or fear of eating something from Chipotle. The motorist’s road rage ebbed. He got discouraged and left. I called an ambulance for my assaulted senses. The ambulance refused to come. Said there was no lower Park Street on GPS. So here I am, first one here on the plaza.

So far I’d say it’s nice. The city survey is right. A car turns down lower Park Street about once every minute. With two broken feet, I have to roll out of the way. The Indy article is accurate. There is no food, no booths and no programmed entertainment, so rolling out of harm’s way has become my entertainment of sorts. I’m not sure what people with two good feet are going to do down here when the Plaza officially opens. The Park Plaza concept is explained as an outdoor café type setting with tables, chairs, décor, plants, lighting and no food or drink. It’s envisioned as a gathering place only. First Laguna resident asks, “Why are we here?” Second Laguna resident answers, “We’re here to gather.” Third Laguna resident says, “Gather what?” First and second residents answer together. “Don’t know. Keep your eyes open.” Third Laguna resident smacks his head. “Got it. Let’s gather the guy with two broken feet and get him to a hospital.” The other residents beam back, “It’s good to have something more to do down here than pay for parking.”

Gathering will not come cheap. The city estimates landscaping the road to not look like a road will cost $10,000. A concerned resident explained, “People are car programmed. Yellow lines, solid white lines, dotted white lines, red lines and traffic signs tell people how to react. The city will need to eliminate these visual cues in favor of a setting that doesn’t require car companions. Some residents are anticipated to have difficulty making the carless transition. They’ve spent lifetimes gathering with their car. It’s a strong bond and one not easily broken. A city driver anxiety fund has been established to help afflicted residents make the separation. Also, a car anxiety fund has been established to start cars to keep batteries fully charged, while their owners are gathering without them.

The request for Park Plaza has come from the Chamber of Commerce, Transition Laguna and the Beautification Council. To date, the homeless shelter has shown little interest and explained that their patrons prefer the Main Beach Boardwalk, Heisler Park and Shaw’s Cove when it comes to hanging out and gathering.


Crantz tells the Indy that he anticipates difficulty for Laguna library patrons who depend on lower Park Avenue to return their library books. Police discourage library users from throwing books out of car windows at the library. Police stress that books are our best friends and you would never throw friends out of a moving car. You wouldn’t, would you?    



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  1. Mark is sometimes funny, sometimes not, like this rambling rant. Park Avenue is a dirty, dank spot of downtown asphalt which could be of better use. Many of us Lagunans are anxiously awaiting the Plaza! Perhaps we’ll see Mark there, in not so crabby of a mood, and he may like the positive change too. Yes, change is difficult. Easy is merely doing nothing.


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