This site is all about D’mitry, don’t get me wrong, but for a moment I would like to write about an incredible, unpredicted adventure I happened to experience alone. Has it ever occurred to you that a significant part of our lives is ruled and dictated in an authoritarian manner by traffic lights? Think about it, there is nothing stopping your car from physically crossing the painted white lines on the road and driving it wherever the hell you want, occupying multiple lanes if so desired. I’m certainly not endorsing driving in this way, I do enjoy not being involved in horrific crashes but my point remains that somehow we have been conditioned to obey the implied meaning of three colours. If the lights are red, we stop, if they are green, we go. And if they are amber we ponder the ambiguity of what the amber light means before speeding up to make it through the intersection before the dreaded red light. Or we stop because the official rule is that, should the light be amber, we should stop if it is safe to do so. But this further illustrates my point in a very roundabout way.
To summarise, people have been conditioned to obey an imaginary yet universally known concept that forbids us from performing certain driving actions when shown certain coloured lights. Do you feel inhuman yet? This enables order and predictability to reign supreme on our roads which is actually a good thing considering how bad car crashes can be. But consider what happens when traffic lights stop working.
This was my experience earlier this week. I was at the front of the queue behind a red light when, all of a sudden, all the amber lights started flashing. I assume this is the traffic version of a computer’s “blue screen of death”. Being at the front on a six lane road, facing a major intersection, I felt responsibility descend upon me. One of the three cars, including myself, on my side of the intersection would have to lead the rest of our three lanes to freedom on the other side of the lights. That is a heavy burden. Think about Moses leading the slaves through the Red Sea. Until he parted that water it seemed impossible. My experience was an incredibly watered down, simplified version of that. Some assertive driver in an opposing lane had already lead his followers through the intersection after a pause from all drivers, exchanging mutual looks of “what the hell do we do now?” through windscreens. When the flow of traffic from the opposition began to ease I felt that burden of responsibility grow a little heavier. Then the car in the lane beside me made a little move. It crept forward ever so slightly, being assertive and hesitant at the same time. So I crept forward a little, trying to encourage that car. What followed was about three tiny little creeps forward before I seized the opportunity, thinking something along the lines of it’s now or never. Blindly driving into the middle of a major intersection when any car at any time could shoot forward because we have lost the structure and predictability of traffic lights. I felt so lost. But all the car behind and beside me followed me. It was like I was leading my army into battle and we charged that intersection. There will be a day when we are involved in a multiple car pile up in the middle of a traffic light-less intersection, but it is not this day! I felt so noble. And in that moment of inspiration when I felt like a true leader and liberator of the people I also felt, to a degree, like a bit of a badass. I had just defied the sacred laws of the traffic lights, when the societal structure of intersections had crumbled around me I was there to pick up the pieces, stick it to authority and drive my car wherever I pleased, even if the traffic lights wouldn’t allow it. Suck it, traffic lights.
I would like to point out though that at the next intersection, with working traffic lights, I stopped at the red light. There is only so much rebellion one can get up to. But there is no way I will crumble without societal structures like traffic lights to hold my life together.
Here is a further list of rebellious things I have done recently:
Eaten ice cream for breakfast
Gone running despite having a sports injury
Had two coffees in one day (I’m quite reactive to caffeine)
Stayed up past 11pm despite starting work at 5am the next morning
Eaten someone else’s mango
Dug into my savings to buy How to Train Your Dragon 2 on DVD and some lego
Written a post on D’mitry’s site that didn’t actually involve D’mitry (I feel bad a little bit about this last one)