By Eric Koeppel —
The most epic crosswalk standoff in Menomonie history came to an end on Friday, Oct. 3. University of Wisconsin–Stout senior Shelly Campbell was attempting to cross Crescent Street on her walk to North Campus on the morning of Monday, Sept. 29, when the fiasco began.
“I was waiting for a car to pass that crosswalk near Waterfront, but it started to slow down,” explained Campbell. “Then the driver signaled for me to cross and, well, things started getting pretty weird after that.”
“In retrospect I should have just stopped completely, but after I signaled to the pedestrian she waved back at me,” said Hank Blorgenstein, whose indecisive driving approach led to one of the greatest wastes of time in human history. “I couldn’t tell what that meant. Was she thanking me? Or was she signaling for me to go first?”
The conundrum escalated quickly as both foot and automobile traffic collected near the crosswalk.
“It was madness! Every time I would take a step he would inch forward,” Campbell said. “At first I was like, wait, is this guy playing a goof on me?”
“I wasn’t playing no goof on no one,” said Blorgenstein. “You see, I was eating Raisenettes at the time but I kept dropping them, so every time I would bend down to pick one up I’d accidentally remove my foot from the break.”
“You’d be surprised how often bite size candy is involved in these types of situations,” said Officer Tom Blankenship, who worked tirelessly to resolve what will go down in history as “Crosswalkegaddon.”
Eventually both Campbell and Blorgenstein turned to silent protest for the remaining five days as crowds of awestruck Menomonie citizens crowded around to watch the incident unfold. Meanwhile pedestrians and drivers opted to just avoid travel on that part of Crescent Street until the situation played itself out.
“Shelly Campbell is my freaking hero! She’s just so brave for doing this,” remarked onlooker Liz Shlorpal, who is now the president of Campbell’s newly created fan club, Team Shelly. “I think I speak for all Campbell-heads out there when I say that pedestrians should always have the right of way, especially when it comes to crosswalks near universities.”
“No man, you got it all wrong,” argued Bob Jenga, who sides with Blorgenstein on the matter. “You see, if you’re driving that means you’re in a car, and since cars are generally faster and bigger than people, they should have the right of way.”
By Friday morning hundreds of passionate onlookers just like Shlorpal and Jenga had chosen sides and an intense rivalry between them quickly developed. Later that afternoon some members of Team Shelly slashed the tires of Blorgenstein’s Chevy Equinox and a full on riot broke out.
“Eventually I just couldn’t take it anymore,” Campbell explained. “People were uprooting parking meters and flipping cars all because this knucklehead of a driver couldn’t decide if he wanted to let me cross or not. It was nuts!”
“We were just about ready to unleash the tear gas when Miss Campbell retreated,” said Officer Blankenship. “After that people seemed to stop caring almost immediately.”
“I don’t blame the pedestrian for walking away at that point,” said Blorgenstein. “Quite frankly, I am now able to look back on the incident and confidently say ‘Man, that whole thing was really stupid.’ I mean, if us drivers would all just agree to take the ten seconds it usually requires to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks then none of this would have happened.”
By Friday night the crowds had cleared away from Crescent Street and the crosswalk had returned to its usual semi-hectic condition.