For Chrissakes, Red Means Stop: Rants from a Traffic Engineer


I’ve sat by, watching you people do whatever the hell you want on my streets like this is a fucking jamboree. Day after day, you act as if you own these city blocks, stomping around with your noses in the air, disregarding all of the signs, lines, and systems that make this society work, goddammit. But the buck stops here. This is the last straw. I’ve seen everything, but today I saw one of you cross the street when the light was clearly red. And that’s where I draw the line.

Do you realize how much trouble I go through to make this whole system work? Every day, I put my ass on the line to keep traffic moving efficiently, orderly, and quickly. But then here you come with your boat shoes and your argyle scarves fucking my shit up. You can see that red hand telling you not to cross, and you can see those numbers counting down. But do you pay attention? Noooo, you couldn’t possibly have the time to look at the traffic signals that keep this city running. Please, continue to cross! I’m sure you can casually walk across a busy intersection in two seconds. And if you can’t make it in time, no big! The Hostess truck barreling down Market Street at 45 miles per hour will happily stop for you.

Oh, and the people who timidly edge towards the middle of the intersection against the light, wait for the cars to come to a grinding halt, and then run across? You just keep doing what you’re doing.

I’m sure you’re saying, “What’s the big deal, man? I’m just crossing the street, dude. There weren’t even any cars near me, bro.” Well, it may seem unimportant to someone like you, but traffic laws are the gears that hold together this little clock I like to call America. Without proper traffic protocols, law and order would vanish, the mountains would crumble, and this great nation would descend into a festering pool of chaos. But please, I wouldn’t want to slow you down on your way to get dental floss from the CVS across the street.

You people are fucking ingrates. You run around like chickens with their heads cut off, and I’m the silent protector making sure you don’t kill yourselves. And instead of thanking me and showering me with gifts, you go and cross against the light. Are you fucking kidding me? You’re lucky I don’t quit my post, ‘cause this place would turn to complete anarchy without someone making sure the stoplights are properly synchronized.

Maybe now you’ll learn something. Maybe now you’ll appreciate all the hard work it takes to make those lights turn the right color at the right time. Maybe…hold on a second, I think I just saw someone jaywalking…Excuse me, sir? WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE—

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