As a person who drives a lot, I am frequently reminded of exactly how dumb other people are. Traffic seems to bring out the worst in people, especially in Massachusetts, which is where I spend a lot of my time driving. (This isn’t to say New Hampshire isn’t occasionally at fault, though. Seriously, NHers–you don’t need to slow to 50 when you see a speed trap on a highway with a speed limit of 65.)
It’s so easy to look at traffic and be pissed off at all the cars around you. Someone up there ahead of you fucked something up. Going for the horn is, for some people, the easiest way to let that frustration off. I get that. For me, it’s usually swearing (big surprise). I also kind of have this middle finger reflex in stressful situations. See, when I was in middle school, I got hit with a penguin right on the top joint of my middle finger and had to wear a splint on it for a while. I think stress just reverts me to that position. But that’s neither here nor there.
The problem is that, so much of the time, the person who’s causing all the traffic problems–the asshole who’s making you late to your meeting or class or date or just keeping you from getting your coffee NOW–isn’t in the traffic at all. Just not there.
I know. It sounds crazy, right? How could someone who’s not even there be fucking up my traffic? Well, lovely readers, the answer is simple. Some asshole designed that intersection.
Like, for example, this one:
I didn’t draw the lights going the other way because the lights going the other way aren’t a problem, though that SHOULD be a solid line in the middle of that side road and I’m sorry for that inaccuracy. But I’d like for you to think about this one for a second. The left lane here–people can go straight or turn from it. Either one. But when the turning light is green, the going-straight light is red. And then you get a red arrow when the main light’s green. So if the person in front of the line doesn’t want to do what the light says, no one’s going anywhere. And if the person behind them doesn’t want to do that, only the first person is going anywhere. For this lane of traffic to move, every. single. goddamn. person. needs to be doing the exact same thing. When’s that going to happen?
So I fixed it.
By the way, YES, I am TOTALLY aware that I flipped the lights over. I was drawing at 2am or something. Opening Photoshop takes a while so no, I’m not going to edit them.
ANYWAY. Me fucking up the lights isn’t the point. The point is, how brilliant am I? MAKE THEM GREEN AT THE SAME TIME. Oh my god. I mean, there are plenty of intersections that do that. Only one way goes at once. Why not here? There is, of course, another option–paint some black over the “straight” part of that left-lane arrow. Holy shit, guys. Let’s see if I can do this again.
Backwards though my lights may be, you can still see the colors (actually, can you? Are you red-green colorblind? Shit.) and realize that these lights aren’t green at the same time. Which means that everyone who goes through that first light immediately gets stuck at the second one. There are about 30 yards between them. So really, what happens is everyone inches forward a little bit. Then the cars that fit in that 30 yards go and everyone else is stuck at another light. The problem is that little one-way road there. People have to get out of that road, so there has to be a second light, right?
Check it out, guys! A ROTARY! Or roundabout or traffic circle or whatever the fuck you want to call it. I don’t really care what you call it, because, see, it can solve your problems. You don’t like rotaries? Well, I don’t like waiting 20 minutes to go through one light on my commute. I know they slow things down a bit, but traffic moves. You get through them. And you’ll never have to sit at a red light when the rest of the road is empty.
Seriously, I should become a civil engineer. Not that I’d go to school for it or anything. I’d just do what that guy on that show on USA does, where he didn’t go to law school or anything but convinces people to hire him because he’s just that awesome. That’s me.
It’s like I’m a fucking savant or something.
(Er…the fucking there is for emphasis. Not for specifying what kind of savant I am. Civil engineering savant. Mom, just…ignore this.)
Of course, there are times when the problem really is other drivers, and I’ve got a solution for you there, too. I just need someone to buy the idea and mass-produce it:
Well, look at that. I guess I can’t actually be a civil engineering savant if I’m so good at weapons design, too, can I? I guess you can have it all.