Sunday, December 30, 2012

The frozen light

I'm walking back from the 7-11 & I come to the traffic light up the corner. It's green for me to cross, but there are cars stopped at the cross street & my rule is that if I don't know how long the light has been green, I don't cross. In this city you don't want to be halfway across any street when the light changes. You wait until you get a fresh green. So I stop & wait. & wait. & wait. & wait. The light doesn't change. I'm next to the switching box & I don't hear the familiar "click" of the mechanism cycling through. Between the time I went to 7-11 & returned, ten minutes at most, the light has frozen. Now I have a real problem. The stopped drivers, some of whom may not even be legally licensed to operate a motor vehicle, are no doubt realizing it also, & they will choose to ignore the red light. But they will do so suddenly, without warning, because it's illegal to run a red light frozen or not. Get in an accident, it's your fault until you sue the city, county or state agency maintaining the light & convince a court otherwise.  If you had a bogus driver's license or none at all, you have bigger problems.   At last, one car goes. Then another, from the other side. Then another. So I walk about 20 yards up the side street for some safe distance, carefully cross, then walk back to my street. This is "city" living, & my neighborhood is not densely urban. But there's no guide book. I write this for your future safety.


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