Doggy, follow The Beep boop!

Here’s a new one for ya. I ran into someone last night who thought those audible signals, ya know, the poles at intersections that go peep peep or cuckoo were set up for…brace yourselves…are you sitting down? Ok, ok. She thought they were set up to help my dog get me across the street!

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Ok that felt good. Just the image of the sound guiding my sighted dog across the street made me giggle.

I’m so used to comments about how the city should have an audible at a given intersection, or people asking why my dog didn’t move when the light changed, seeming to not know that I tell the dog when to go and the dog just makes sure I don’t become squashed to a pulp by a car. But never have the two come together in such a strange way.

But all was not lost. After I bit my tongue and refrained from either laughing or getting frustrated, I was able to explain to her that those “beepers” as everyone calls the accessible pedestrian signals, which is apparently their newest technical name, are for the blind pedestrian. I explained that they chirp for one direction and cuckoo for the other direction, and you can sort of hear the other pole doing the same, so you know that you’re going the right way. and miracle of miracles, she listened to me! We actually exchanged ideas and heard each other and things ended well.

I do have to laugh at what happened next, though. I was heading up to a place to help another blind guy learn how to type. I walked in and said to him. “Hey! Here’s a new one for ya! the beepers are for my dog!” what ensued was him laughing so hard I thought he might fall over. He completely understood what had just happened to me. A sighted dude nearby acted as if we’d just spoken another language. After explaining to him what we were on about, he laughed too. But what was weird was we completely understood each other with that one sentence. It was a funny moment.

So to everyone who wonders what those audible signals do, they’re for me, not the dog. Oh, and that beeping sound they make all the time is not a signal for anyone to cross the street. That’s just a sound to say “I chirp and cuckoo if you hold the button for five seconds.” Once someone does hold the button for five seconds, then when the light is good for them, there will be a chirp or cuckoo depending on which street the pedestrian who pushed the button is crossing. the other pole on the other side also makes the same sound, sort of loosely letting the person know where the other side is. That’s how they work. I hope that helps at least one person understand why the lights beep.

Incidentally, the Shaun Majumder bit where he talks about those “beeping lights” makes me laugh really, really hard. I wish I could find it so I could link to it. If anyone finds it, leave it in the comments and I’ll put the link in.

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