Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Southeast Portland parents raise concerns about speedy bike traffic

Posted by on March 5th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Intersection of SE Clinton and 29th.

A group of parents in the inner-southeast Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood are fed up with what they say are people riding bicycles too dangerously down one of Portland’s busiest bikeways — SE Clinton Street. At issue is a school bus stop near the intersection of Clinton and SE 29th that services Abernethy Elementary.

According to Liz Gatti, a resident and mom of two kids who use that stop, people on bicycles frequently do not stop when the bus’s flashing lights are on. Instead, they zoom around it while children are boarding and crossing the street. Gatti, and other parents who are mobilizing around this concern, are worried that one of their children will be struck and hurt as a result.

The parents have resorted to standing behind the bus “looking like a bunch of thugs” to try and encourage people to stop.

Below is an “Open Letter” written by Gatti and shared with BikePortland at the behest of Portland Police Officer Robert Pickett:

“It is terrifying for me (and I think for all parents) to see cyclists continuing to move in potentially dangerous ways when my children are in such a vulnerable situation.”
— Liz Gatti, concerned parent

An Open Letter to all Cyclists in Portland,

I am a mom of two elementary school-aged children that attend a neighborhood school in Portland. Each morning, we walk about 7 blocks to a school bus stop at SE 29th and SE Clinton. We cross Clinton to the north side of the street and wait with other families for the bus. Each morning, as the bus stops, the red lights at the back of the bus are illuminated and it is clear that the bus is stopping to pick up children.

We have been going to this stop for almost two school years. During that time we have had several challenging incidents with both cars and cyclists relating to the safety of our children. I even heard today that a child was hit at one point (I was not there that day and cannot speak to the specific situation). Sometimes cars come speeding down the road, one once went into the oncoming traffic lane to swerve around the bus. I think that we can all see that that is unsafe behavior and should be stopped. With cyclists, we’ve, sometime frequently, seen them swerve around the bus when it is stopped, sometimes in large numbers.

When a school bus stops, all traffic is required to stop from all directions. Children are permitted to cross in front of the bus to get on and to get off. If the bus does not stop at the curb, the children must walk into the road to the door of the bus. It is terrifying for me (and I think for all parents) to see cyclists continuing to move in potentially dangerous ways when my children are in such a vulnerable situation.

So, I’m writing to ask that you always stop for a stopped school bus. And that you do it as cordially as possible. We stand behind the bus looking like a bunch of thugs for a reason. We want to ensure that our children are safe and we have reason to have concern.

Thank you for your consideration. And thank you for all that you do to make Portland a great place to live.

Gatti tells me that she and other parents have tried verbal warnings to people on bikes and there has been talk of handing out flyers. One parent has called in a complaint to the Portland Police Bureau and Gatti says the officers have been out three times this week giving citations to people who do not stop when the bus lights are flashing. “We hope to continue to have police presence until the issue is resolved.”

Oregon law clearly states that vehicles must wait behind a school bus when lights are flashing. Gatti says the bus stop is just east of where Clinton crosses 29th and that their “biggest fear” is that someone on a bike will veer to the right of the stopped bus and hit a child waiting to board the bus.

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Wes Evans
Guest
Wes Evans

Liz, thank you for raising this concern. As a daily bike commuter myself, I would like to encourage other cyclists to obey the law and respect school buses. When the lights are flashing, they are flashing for a reason. Act responsibly and stop for the few moments it takes to help keep our streets safe for all.

ToddTheWetSprocket
Guest

I don’t always follow the bike rules, but when I bus stops with its little flip out stop sign, I always stop. As we often complain to cars, we cyclists sometime need to remember it won’t kill us to stop either for a moment.

She
Guest
She

Liz,

Thank you for this letter, I hope it is effective. As both a parent and a cyclists, I hear your concern.

Other cyclists – please do not endanger our neighborhood kids!

dan
Guest
dan

Who would see a stopped school bus and pass it on the right side? On the other hand, when the bus is loading (I only encounter school buses in the morning) _slowly_ rolling by on the left side seems like a victimless crime.

I usually stop for a school bus with its sign out, but I must admit that I don’t have a perfect record.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Me ride bike. Me no care laws.

Daniel Miles
Guest
Daniel Miles

Hello, Liz. Although I have since moved, I used to live (and commute by bike) in your area and I know the place you’re talking about. Although I was never lucky enough to leave work early enough to contend with school busses on my commute, I’ve often biked on Clinton.

Cyclists are under threat from cars most of the time. We know it viscerally, we feel the threat whenever we mix with automotive traffic which means that bike boulevards like Clinton give us a heady sense of freedom from fear and a reversal of privilege. On the other hand, I can easily see those feelings leading to this kind of problem but I firmly believe that once we begin to realize that we’re imparting the same threats to pedestrians (and children, at that) on “our” bike boulevards that people driving cars impart to us on all the other roads, it’s going to make us very uncomfortable; with any luck, uncomfortable enough to do something about it. So, thank you for bringing this up, it’s something the cycling community needs to hear and I hope you see the change you’re looking for.

And to cyclists: You’re a vehicle just like a car. You have the same responsibilities they do. You have to stop at stop signs, stop for school busses (which have big, flashing stop signs on them) and yield to pedestrians. We can hurt them, sometimes even kill them. There’s a lot of energy in a 150lb cyclist even at 12mph.

Jack
Guest
Jack

“…’biggest fear’ is that someone on a bike will veer to the right of the stopped bus and hit a child waiting to board the bus.”

I would think that the biggest fear would be 3000+ lbs of car hitting a child at 25+ mph and killing that child; not ~200 lbs of cyclist hitting the child and potentially injuring the child.

MeghanH
Guest
MeghanH

This is a problem — I have seen bikes go around a school bus on Clinton up closer to 39th that stops for a special needs child. It takes a lot of time to load and secure that child’s motorized wheelchair. On one occasion when I was biking and couldn’t wait the extra five minutes, I got off the bike, walked over to the opposite sidewalk, walked around, and then went on my way. I think that’s safe and acceptable.

But most cyclists that morning just sped past without slowing down…

oliver
Guest
oliver

Do not pass when Red lights Flash.

Sometimes the mind reels how simple lessons from childhood are forgotten.

(looking both ways before crossing the street comes to mind)

that and what jack@5 said.

Marcus Griffith
Guest
Marcus Griffith

Kids generally are told to watch for cars–and not bicycles even through bicycles can be tough to spot while deboarding a bus.
Does anyone know what level of bicycle traffic awareness children receive.

Minister
Guest
Minister

I just slow down, take the sidewalk and proceed. Perfectly legal.

Geezer Guy
Guest
Geezer Guy

The more we ( as a group ) screw up the sooner the law will force us to be licensed and to carry insurance. I fear our days are numbered.

JAT in Seattle
Guest
JAT in Seattle

I slowly rolled by on the left once and the driver hollered out the window at me. I stopped, apologized, and haven’t done it since.

I think the frequent cyclist meme that our transgressions of road rules count less as our potential to do harm is so much less that that of motorists falls apart when the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians – are in the mix.

jim
Guest
jim

one time years ago in eugene 2 cyclists hit each other head on at night time. They both died.

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

If we intend on keeping our freedoms, and gaining others, we must not lose the support of the non-bicycling public. Violating the safety of parents, and children, will not garner much support.

Remember, each of us is an example. Of what, is completely up to us.

neversummer
Guest
neversummer

I’m a parent of two young kids and a cyclist (one of those pesky cyclists that stops for signals, signs and buses). I ride Clinton daily and am very aware that numerous cyclists do not adhere to the law. I’m not going to defend them, or the action that Ms. Gatti addresses but I do have a bone to pick with the angle of the letter. The letter is addressed to cyclists and she notes that her greatest fear is a cyclist hitting a child. I agree that a cyclist ignoring a stopped bus and hitting a child would be a terrible thing, but this seems narrowly focused.

Ms. Gatti points out in her letter that auto’s are also at fault:

“During that time we have had several challenging incidents with both cars and cyclists relating to the safety of our children.”

“Sometimes cars come speeding down the road, one once went into the oncoming traffic lane to swerve around the bus.”

I’m willing to bet that Ms. Gatti would agree that an auto/child accident would be far more horrific than a bike/child accident. So why shine the light directly on cyclists. Let’s focus on the real problem, which is *people* ignoring a law and endangering children. Some of those people are on bikes and others are in automobiles. The goal is to stop the dangerous activity regardless of the transport device (bike, car, motorcycle, skateboard).

peejay
Guest
peejay

1. I stop for school buses — always have.

2. I do not have the ability to control the actions of people who are not myself but who happen to share a transit mode with me.

3. I expect that some people will associate me with those other bike riders, especially the ones they remember — the ones doing foolish things.

4. Life is not always fair.

Mark
Guest

There is but one correct response to this situation: folks on bikes must follow the law. I commute by bike and ride them for fun. There may be times when rolling through a stop sign is acceptable, but never rolling around a bus whose lights are flashing.

Geezer Guy
Guest
Geezer Guy

Right On Dennis ! ! ! ( #15 )

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Dennis #15:

I was about to say the same thing, and as more and more people bicycle, this type of issue is going to come up much more often.

We need to be better at self-policing if the freedom that makes cycling such a joy is to be maintained.

peejay
Guest
peejay

5. Most people are very bad judges of the statistical likelihoods of various risks in their daily lives, and worse judges of those risks when it comes to their children.

6. This is especially true when something they use and rely on every day is the biggest risk to their and their children’s lives.

7. See 4.

peejay
Guest
peejay

#18 makes the most sense so far.

#15. Sorry, I can’t control the behavior of people I don’t know.

RyNO Dan
Guest
RyNO Dan

I consistently see cyclists that do not stop or yield to pedestrians attempting to cross at crosswalks. There is definitely a problem.

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

It is worth mentioning that one of the citations handed out at the bus stop was for riding on the sidewalk around the bus. I would think that walking your bike on the sidewalk would not be a problem.

SE Cyclist
Guest
SE Cyclist

I stop for school buses at all times when required whether I am driving or riding. It will not bother me one bit if PPD cites 200 cyclists for this violation as long as the motorists are treated the same.

Marid
Guest
Marid

Just be patient. Seriously, shaving a few seconds off your trip is not worth the risks. Somehow, as a society, we have to educate ourselves that sharing the road means accepting the rules.

Bob_M
Guest
Bob_M

Anyone who gets between a mother bear and its cub is in for an ass whooping. That may come as physical, verbal, legal or political beating, but it will come. If one cyclist knocks down a kid at a school bus (or anywhere else) expect harsh wrath to come down upon you and unfortunatly to other cyclists.

I agree W/ SE #24, Ticket the violators of this infraction and make em pay.

mtmann
Guest

Many years and many jobs ago I worked as a school bus driver. I can say from personal experience that it’s incredibly frightening and frustrating watching someone blow your lights while unloading children. Even a bike at 20mph can do a lot of damage to a 5-year old stepping around the front of a bus to cross the street. That said, if I’m running a little late on my morning commute, I’ll get stuck by a bus that takes nearly 5 minutes to load about 30 kids at an apartment complex on my route. When that happens, I do like minister (#11) and slowly cruise the sidewalk – on the opposite side from where the bus loads.

KruckyBoy
Guest
KruckyBoy

I’m willing to bet that Ms. Gatti would agree that an auto/child accident would be far more horrific than a bike/child accident. So why shine the light directly on cyclists.

Are you serious? A bike could EASILY kill a child. Easily. And are you saying she’d be fine as long as her child was only maimed and not killed? And how many drivers blast the stop signs on Clinton at full speed? I’ve never ever seen a single car come close to doing that. Bikers? All the time.

Dave Proctor
Guest

#23 nailed one of my pet peeves. The kids are pedestrians, cyclists need to stop for pedestrians. Simple, huh?

The worst place I see this is where SE Ladd Ave hits Ladd Circle heading southeast. There’s a huge hedge on the right that obscures pedestrians approaching the sidewalk, yet all the commuting cyclists on Ladd blow through the stop sign at full bore. I may not always fully stop, but I always slow down enough to see if there are any pedestrians looking to cross.

Steve B.
Guest

Always stop for people. Always stop for school buses. There’s just no other way!

Vance Longwell
Guest

Eh, go ahead and flame me. This bugs me. I’m all bent about school-bus protocol in the first place so I’m especially sensitive, and partially railing at years of frustration over this issue. Some credit please. Also, I swear I’m fed-up up to the gills with what ‘will’ happen, what ‘could’ happen, what ‘might’ happen… When did America become such a bunch of frightened, timid, control-freaks?

neversummer #16 made a good point about singling out bicycle-riders, but after further consideration I’m not sure. That is one of those bike-boulevard thing-a-ma-jigs, right? So the majority of traffic is bikes, right?

First and foremost, how do I know this lady isn’t telling lies to control strangers? How do I know she’s not conflating the circumstances out of bike-hate? How do I know her, her kids, and her posse aren’t breaking more rules, regs, and laws than those she’s waving her mommy-finger at? This is one person, one letter, and a bunch of conjecture. Should sound familiar from a recent comment thread here.

Next, kids don’t have any rights, I do. As such, kids are the responsibility of their parents, not mine. Why can’t you approach me as an adult, instead of always dragging your kids into it?

This too. I have to wonder about people who take a position like this in the first place. I could be projecting but this lady is acting like it’s just a couple of minutes, what’s the big-deal. Sure just a couple of minutes at that one place, that one day, at that one moment. School buses can, and routinely do, add several minutes to my ride/drive every day. Riding out SE Division I have occasion to be forced into yielding this time, and my patience too, many times or more in one trip, on one street. So, my frustration with this lady is at least partially due to the fact that her kid is just one of thousands eating at my time on this rock; and her position fails to acknowledge that.

I stopped my bike once at a cross-walk well ahead of some traffic I judged would simply drive through this crosswalk at SE 181st and E Burnside. I stopped to let a lil ‘ol lady cross, no kidding. I don’t buy this ‘take-the-lane’ hogwash, I just decided that if cars were gonna run this ‘ol lady down, they were gonna do it over my dead-body, literally. I’m not even that into it, I was just in the mood. I went to jail for that. Why does this lady and her ‘thugs’ get a pass? Sure they can stand there, but if they interfere with traffic that’s illegal, and if they menace, that’s illegal too. But you can bet a double standard would be applied if something happened. Isn’t this the same type of civil-vigilantism that somebody who’d print an anonymous flier slandering, and libeling, a shop-owner enter into?

Love yer kids, great, happy for you. Way to have a body-function. Kids are kids though and I’m not in the habit of holding them responsible for anything; and simply must give them special credence. But this special treatment is being abused by a bunch of Nanny State control freaks, and I’m really fed-up. If you don’t want your kids injured in a highway, let’s start first with keeping them out of it. A little cooperation like that would go a long way toward a compromise, yes?

It was patently illegal for a kid to cross in front of the bus like this when I was that age, when did this change? The whole flashing-red-light, don’t pass the bus thing, came about in the first place because the public attitude was that even though they’re not supposed to, kids will be kids, and occasionally run in front of the bus. Now this lady is stating that not only has this changed, but it is perfectly legal? Outrageous. Kids may deboard a bus onto the sidewalk, and then follow the rules. What? Why is it necessary to have them crossing streets from behind the cover of a stopped vehicle? Folks are quick to speculate about a future accident, but what of a future citizen being instilled with that level of entitlement? Why not utilize the opportunity to teach judgment and consequences?

Again, when I was that age, a complaint like this would have been met with, ‘well move then.’, at a certain point. Oh but they can’t ’cause the Church of Green says we gotta all cram in and get cozy. K, well, if that’s the mandate we’re gonna re-address this whole school bus protocol thing, ’cause it’s just too big of a hindrance now. The rules we have were built upon a pre-expansion paradigm that has become wholly inadequate.

I speak to my rights, because that is what mz parent is doing. When I speak to my rights, this includes many aspects that have nothing to do with me. It’s my right to protect the market. It’s my choice. I can do that. When you slow traffic, for whatever just-cause-o-the-day, you also slow the delivery of retail goods, and services. This in-turn impacts the market and effects what I pay for goods and services. Additionally, by decreasing efficiency you expand the consumption of natural resources, all of them, that it takes to keep the apparatus breathing. Everything from energy production to cleaning toilet stalls costs more to happen. Also regardless of the best enviro intentions. Can’t you see this is what’s killing the economy? My self-interest then isn’t so self, and may be quite a bit more than interest.

No offense really. I’m angered by this is all. I’m angered to be surrounded by people hell-bent on legislating their pet-peeves. What about your kids, lady, what about ’em? If that’s less than charitable, sobeit.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

I’d like to see some very serious enforcement at 26th and Clinton.

Perhaps even a full traffic signal.

Marid
Guest
Marid

31, the Oregon Driver’s Manual has been pretty clear that you must stop for school busses since at least 1986. Nothin’ new.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

“their “biggest fear” is that someone on a bike will…hit a child waiting to board the bus”

“I even *heard* today that a child was hit at one point…”

“looking like a bunch of thugs”

Its a pity that an important message was marred by this kind of hyperbole.

michweek
Guest
michweek

As a commuter cyclist I want respect, especially from motorists.

I believe the underlaying issue here is that cyclist think they are specal and better than the rest and therefor above the law. Sure we put more effort into our commute and help the enviroment, but if cycling is going to grow as an option of transportation cyclists need to respect the rules of the road to build respect toward cyclists in our communities. Otherwise people think were just a bunch of idiots that need to be run off the road.

S E Cyclist
Guest
S E Cyclist

Thter’s no excuse for failing to stop for a school bus with lights flashing regardless of the type of vehicle one is operating. It won’t bother me one bit if the PPD cites 200 cyclists as long as they cite motorists, too. I’d much rather PPD enforce this than spend time enforcing stop signs in Ladds Addition.

sarah gilbert
Guest

I’m a parent of three kids who’s watched cars on 39th avenue zoom past the stopped school bus so many times I’ve become inured to it. my son took the bus for two-and-a-half years; it stops in front of our house and, because 39th is so terrible for bicyclists, we often have bikes on the sidewalks between the bus’s doors and my son. We’ve never had a collision or near-collision, and although I admit to sighing and shaking my head over the hurry-hurry cars — though I admit to getting extremely frustrated when I see bicyclists zoom through that stop sign in the Ladd’s Addition circle (and so many other stop signs) to the point which I’ve muttered loud sarcastic comments a time or two — I still don’t like the tone of this letter.

I agree that it’s not bicyclists who are the problem, it’s all people on all conveyances who believe the law only applies if they deem it convenient. How many of us have decided that our own personal need to get someplace at an appointed time is worth more than that stop sign or that pedestrian’s right to cross? Probably, all of us. I have.

I still have a problem with the tone of this letter. With me, it’s the “biggest fear” bit — my biggest fears are numerous and hyperbolic but they do not involve cyclists hitting my son on his way to the bus.

I believe that *everyone* should slow down, but the bigger your vehicle, the more careful you should be. I’m looking at YOU, huge truck barreling down 39th a few inches from the sidewalk where my children walk and bike and skip and ride their tricycles. I’m looking at YOU, Trimet bus behind schedule hurry-hurrying between stops. And the guy in the Ford F350 who *just* manages to turn left onto the side street my kids and I bike down, going about 20 MPH faster than anyone should turn a corner. It’s not just the semis and the buses and the oversized pickup trucks: it’s the moms in the minivans, too.

Bikes *could* kill a child. Cars *do* kill children, a lot. I appreciate the concern for children’s safety, but addressing this to the bike community is probably not going to save any lives. Maybe we need a couple of local news exposes on how vehicles (including bikes) don’t stop for buses?

trail user
Guest
trail user

What’s the law on jumping off the bike and running around the bus, perhaps on the opposite side of the street? What about carrying your bike? Some people are pretty quick at mounting and dismounting on the fly. Would you still be considered a vehicle off the bike but running?

sarah gilbert
Guest

… on further reflection…

I can see how *for these parents* in this small part of each school day in this intersection, the problem could seem enormous — and bikes *do* go quite fast along Clinton, even up at 42nd where I frequently cross with my children, I’ve nearly caused a collision a few times, having not seen a bicyclist moving along rapidly.

but for *all* the parents whose children take buses, walk and ride bikes to school, speeding bikes is a satellite on the very edge of the problem’s solar system, which is essentially that we believe as a culture it’s our right to get somewhere as fast as vehicularly possible, and we quickly rationalize away any ethical or legal shortcuts we take in the pursuit of that speed.

JayS.
Guest
JayS.

I have seen bus monitors and parents act as crossing guards in situations like these. Safety vest, hand held stop sign, rotating schedule of volunteers. Just a suggestion.

carlsson
Guest
carlsson

OMG… I agree with Vance….

Alexis
Guest
Alexis

I tried to post this earlier, but even after reading the comments further I still think it’s weird that her stated “biggest fear” is people on bikes going to the right around the bus. It’s clear from the description that most people are going to the left. Which they shouldn’t be, and I support the effort to enforce the law. Stop for buses. Stop for kids. Duh.

But why fear most the thing that is never stated in the letter to actually happen? From other comments, there are certain places where the system tends to create bike-ped conflict around buses that does involve the right side (39th), but Clinton doesn’t seem to be one of those places. Indeed, the low motor vehicle traffic makes it even less likely that it would be. I think she and everyone else be better off if the focus stays on the actual problem (which as many people point out is about general lack of respect for the bus signals, not just by people riding) than doing fear-based speculation.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I don’t see a big problem with what Liz Gatti’s has to say in her letter. In it, she doesn’t seem mean or vindictive. She seem nice…appealing to everyone that rides bikes for a simple resolution to a problem she and her fellow parents are faced with in getting their kids safely loaded and unloaded on to the bus.

If I was going to question anything she’d written in her letter, it would have to do with the frequency of problems as expressed in the following excerpt: “… We have been going to this stop for almost two school years. During that time we have had several challenging incidents with both cars and cyclists… …”

Several challenging incidents over a couple year period doesn’t particularly sound like a lot to me on the face of it. Maybe there’s more to this story that everyone should hear. I wonder if Maus tried to contact Liz Gatti for a little chat before writing. Might have been productive.

One technique for dealing with school bus traffic slow-downs that some people commenting have mentioned…taking the bike to the sidewalk. In areas where bike traffic is heavy, I can see how that could get really old for people in the neighborhood day after day. There are better ways to deal with this situation; change of route, time of travel, etc. .

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“… Gatti tells me that she and other parents have tried verbal warnings to people on bikes and there has been talk of handing out flyers. …” maus/bikeportland

Whoops! I see that maus has apparently talked to Gatti first hand. Sorry about that.

pedestrian
Guest
pedestrian

I was wondering how long it would take someone to basically state that it isn’t a big deal if a bike hits a pedestrian. Didn’t have to wait too long. Hope when those that feel that way kill or injure a pedestrian, they’ll still feel good about those few seconds they saved without having to obey right of way and stop. But, hey, as long as they weren’t driving a car, it’s all good, right?

Red Five
Guest
Red Five

Why don’t we just come out and say it? Cyclists should not have to follow any rules. Pedestrians and Motorists will always be our enemy. Cyclist will never be at fault. Make that the new Portland Cyclist credo.

Sigh…is everyone really in that much of a hurry? Even on a bike?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Red five,
just curious… What percentage of the comments here are reflecting that statement?

are
Guest

some stray thoughts.

(first concurring that of course you should stop when a school bus has its flashers on and that all cyclists should not be tagged with the behaviors of a few . . .)

if you find yourself behind a school bus and you think you will be trapped for several stops, take an alternate route.

as has been noted, children should not be crossing in front of the stopped bus. the “biggest fear” there would be that the kid will be taken out by the bus itself. has been known to happen. on some buses they have put a gate out the front to prevent the kid crossing too close for the driver to see . . .

walk seven blocks to get to a school bus stop? where is the school?

disappointed to see comments here defending the behavior, but at the same time this particular complaint invites some skepticism . . .

Vance Longwell
Guest

sarah gilbert #40 – Bikes can’t go ‘fast’. It’s physically impossible, even more-so uphill.

“…solar system, which is essentially that we believe as a culture it’s our right to get somewhere as fast as vehicularly possible, and we quickly rationalize away any ethical or legal shortcuts we take in the pursuit of that speed.”

So then you are a better judge of how I should use my time than I am myself? Who are you, and Ms. Parent here, to even consider what I do with my time, let alone enter into actions intended to control what I do with it? Are you going to enforce your rules, or are you going to reach into my wallet, and make me pay the police-state more, and more, money to follow your rules, I neither need nor want?

Seriously, let me know. I want to live my life according to your wants and desires. I’ve been thinking all along that it’s my life, my time, but clearly I was wrong. Hurry please, because I have to go to the bathroom, and I’m terrified of stepping on an exposed carpet-tack, the bleach used to make my toilet-paper white, whatever may be lurking in the toilet-water that might splash up and touch my skin, and the emanating radiation from that 60w iridescent light-bulb in there. Leaving my office for a trip to that bathroom is the scariest part of my existence, well, other than for breathing. Don’t get me started on breathing, I just can’t take it and might cry.