You find yourself sitting at a red light

You pull up to an intersection. You find yourself sitting at a red light. The red light tells you not to go through the intersection. But you want to be on the other side of the intersection. You want to go through the intersection even though the red light is clearly telling you to stay put. Surely the red light will change to another color. One that will indicate you are now allowed to pass through the intersection. One that will let you continue on your way.

And so you must be ready. You must be vigilant. You must make sure that you can advance at the exact moment that the light tells you – the instant that it no longer hinders your progression. And so you ease forward. Slowly. Painfully. Perhaps illegally. You are jealous of the people that are already able to proceed, as the red light is not directing them at this time. But you must remain focused for the precise moment at which the time will become yours. Inch by inch you proceed. Past one white line. Then another. Then another. Seemingly in defiance of the red light you are now halfway into the intersection. Perhaps you are breaking the rules, but the timing must be exact. And so you continue.

And then a thought occurs to you: What if the red light isn’t going to change? What if all of this creeping is for naught? What if your path through the intersection was an impossible task? As your brain ponders the possibility that all of your effort will be wasted, you see the person next you speed through the intersection. Hey, look at that – the light turned green!


This short story was brought to you by the guy in the car next to me on Bloomfield Ave this evening, who was so anxious to gun the engine during the red light that he forgot to actually hit the gas when the light turned green. I’d be more amazed if I didn’t see this happen so frequently. You know, except when the guy decides that the light actually isn’t going to change and just blows through the red. Yes, I am easily amused (and frustrated) by drivers around me.

3 thoughts on “You find yourself sitting at a red light”

  1. I also love the ones who are oblivious to the light change. So you honk to get them going, and they try to compensate for their stupidity by gunning it and going at least 20 miles over the speed limit. Yeah, THAT makes it better.

  2. I’m more concerned about the half-dozen people who I can count on either gunning it and turning left right in front of me, in total defiance of the fact that I have a green light and have the right of way. I guess if three cars cuts me off, no one person is to blsme or something.
    I don’t know why Fort Lee doesn’t put up a camera at that one intersection; they could fill any ticket quotas by noon.

  3. Your amusement (and frustration) is shared by most New Jersey residents, as evidenced by most of my conversations while I lived there.

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