New Sign, Any Difference? | Teen Ink

New Sign, Any Difference?

February 8, 2010
By Anne Gifford SILVER, Sudbury, Massachusetts
Anne Gifford SILVER, Sudbury, Massachusetts
9 articles 5 photos 0 comments

It started falling apart that windy afternoon. First, the white paint peeled. Then, the frame drooped slightly off the post. What was I to do? I could barely make out the drawing of the turtle holding up the warning sign. I could barely make out the clouds above the turtle’s upright position. I could barely make out the tiny details on the roadway, and the artist’s plead for drivers to slow around this bend for the crossing turtles. Time for a new sign, I thought.

Grabbing my paintbrushes and poster board, I started to etch a new turtle. “He may not be as creative or humorous as the first one,” I thought, “but this will have to do because he’s gotta go up today.” After about two hours of Bob Dylan, Jack Johnson, and Damien Rice blasting from my IPod, and numerous erasure marks, I had a final result. The only issue was the rain that pelted down from the clouds threatening to smear my work. “I’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to put it up,” I thought.

Tomorrow came and went, and before I knew it, the sign began to collect particles of dust by sitting in my room. I noticed the sign, and realized that there was no better day than today to put it up on Water Row. I called to my father and we both jumped into his car. We drove up and down the street searching for the “perfect spot” to place it.

“People will be sure to see this—no way to miss it!” My dad said elatedly as he pulled up to a bare post. We got out of the car and quickly nailed it into place, and then started to creep back while admiring the final product. Suddenly, a car horn blared loudly behind us. Turning around towards the sound, we saw a huge white BMW sedan glaring at us. The driver hollered to “get out of the road.” We said our apologies, because we were at fault, and moved to the side. My eyes darted down to his license plate, which bore the letters: BMW Dealership Sudbury. The driver revved his engine and zoomed down the winding street. I stood there, stunned. How could this man not see my sign propped against the post, pleading for cars to slow down in this turtle alcove? I crossed my fingers, hoping these creatures would not choose that moment to cross the road.

I soon realized that the real problem facing the community of Sudbury wasn’t the average soccer mom going a little too quickly down this street, unaware of the turtles crossing. Rather, Water Row was being used (and in a sense, encouraged) as the main road for test-driving the agility and excellence of a BMW. Could this new dealership exist cautiously aware of the nature that preceded it?

The next day, I soon discovered the answer. I asked my mom to drive me to the dealership so that I could present my case. Anger pulsated through my veins, although I tried to calm down. I told myself to stroll into the building dignified and collected, as opposed to upset and combative. I told myself that whining and pointing fingers couldn’t solve this local concern. Yet, no matter how much I told myself, the frustration would not subside.

A few moments later, I stood in front of the director of sales. I explained to him the issue at hand. He nodded politely and thanked me. The whole ordeal lasted no more than a few minutes. Yet, I felt as though I hadn’t achieved anything. How would I know he had actually listened to me, and not just heard my voice complaining about some turtles? A girl behind me had overheard my conversation, and soon after, whispered, “I think it’s really great that you’re doing this.” To hear someone I’d never met before tell me that my two-cents-worth had made a slight imprint on her life, and possibly on this community, I left feeling that my voice had not been wasted. This local concern has not been solved, and probably will take more than the championing of a dealership to have a happy ending. This problem was unsheathed, though, and now my job is to illuminate more people about this issue.

The author's comments:
A small road, but not insignificant.

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