Life, Minutiae, Toys, Irrational Phobias, Peeves, Fiber

Timing The Light

Posted on | November 16, 2006 at 6:12 pm | 10 Comments

There is one stoplight I have to go through when I take my usual jogging route every morning. It’s very near my house, so I always encounter it at the beginning and end of my run. At the time I leave on weekdays, it is still on the nighttime (11pm – 6am) cycle where it flashes red one direction and yellow the other. I can’t push the “walk” button, as it doesn’t do anything when the light is on that cycle. So I have to wait for a break in traffic and race across the intersection in the dark. Usually traffic is pretty light at that time of the morning, so I don’t have to wait long.

By the time my run is almost over and I encounter this intersection again, it has switched to its normal daytime cycle. The direction I want to cross is usually red unless there are cars wanting to cross in the same direction or make a left hand turn. Sometimes I will jayrun and ignore the signal and just cross anyway if there are no cars coming from the opposite direction – I can see pretty far both ways. But most of the time, I will wait for the light, just to be on the safe side. Traffic has usually picked up some by the time I get back to the intersection.

The problem is that if I don’t push the button, then when the light turns green because cars are waiting, the walk signal doesn’t come on, and the green light flicks on only long enough to allow the existing cars through. So if I want to actually cross at the green light, I have to get there and push the button before it turns green for the waiting cars. That way, the walk signal comes on, and the light stays green longer to allow me to cross and for the cars to cross/turn. Although frequently the turning cars will not see me and will make the turn before they should. I really have to watch out for that.

So every morning it’s something of a race to get to the light and push the button before a car shows up in a left turn lane or in the straight-through lane. The light turns green pretty fast at that time of the morning if cars are waiting. Cars in the right hand turn lane don’t seem to activate it. Curiously, pushing the button doesn’t really seem to make the light turn green faster if there are no cars waiting. So if I don’t get there and push the button at the right time, I may have to wait awhile for the light to turn.

For the longest time, I would always try to time things so that I could get to the intersection and push the button right before the light turns green. I would have to do things like taking into account that a car is about to hit the intersection, even to the point of racing it there. That would usually give me a nice little sprint near the end of my run.

But you know what? I don’t do that anymore. I’ve found it’s kind of pointless trying to beat the light and beat the cars. I think that no matter how much I tried to time things, it wouldn’t have worked out that much differently anyway. So now I’m just cool with it and I keep at my steady job throughout. Whatever happens, happens. Let the future be the future and don’t worry about it.

This post is a metaphor for something, though I’m not entirely sure what.



10 Responses to “Timing The Light”

  1. 2fs
    November 16th, 2006 @ 10:59 pm

    You know what you need? A jetpack. That’d solve it.

  2. Flasshe
    November 16th, 2006 @ 11:02 pm

    Where is my jetpack? I was promised one back in the 60s. I think that’s the only reason I’ve made it into this century.

  3. Paula
    November 17th, 2006 @ 10:57 am

    I’m sorry, but I don’t fraternize with jay-runners. You people are a pox on humanity.

  4. Janet
    November 17th, 2006 @ 11:04 am

    My dad thinks those “press button to cross” buttons ought to activate a Wile E. Coyote-style spring that pitches you up and over to the far sidewalk.

    And Rog, I’m awed by your persistence in taking the same route daily, every day. I only work out 3x/week and do it at the Y when I don’t like the weather (which is frequently). But even if it’s been a week or more since I was out jogging, I don’t want to take the same route I took last time, or the time before. My ADHD-influenced goal is to never take the same 6-mi loop twice.

  5. Flasshe
    November 17th, 2006 @ 11:09 am

    I’m sorry, but I don’t fraternize with jay-runners. You people are a pox on humanity.

    Y’know, I actually agree with that. I will say that most of the runners in my neighborhood are even worse about it than I am, though that still doesn’t excuse my occasional foray into light-against-going. There’s just some circumstances where I get antsy and the way is clear. As all runners know, it’s hard to stop once you’ve got that momentum going.

  6. Flasshe
    November 17th, 2006 @ 11:11 am

    And Rog, I’m awed by your persistence in taking the same route daily, every day.

    I used to mix it up and vary the routes, but once I discovered this particular route (through a neighbor), I preferred it so much to the others that it was hard for me to go anywhere else after that. Besides, sometimes there are horsies.

  7. InfK
    November 17th, 2006 @ 4:41 pm

    Metaphor? It’s a metaphor for life itself, my fine feathered friend – ain’t nothin’ in the world you can’t mess up by being in a hurry.

  8. Flasshe
    November 17th, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

    Life?? By Gosh, I think you’ve got it!

  9. DJSmallberries
    November 17th, 2006 @ 7:23 pm

    Are you sure you’re just not seeing patterns where there aren’t any? The human brain is very good at that (in fact, any animal brain is). It’s the basis for superstition, stereotyping and gambling. I’ve never believed that those “push to walk buttons” were ever actually connected to anything and have always considered them to be placebo buttons just to discourage jaywalking.

  10. Doug
    December 9th, 2006 @ 2:12 am

    You have adopted the same attitude as Prius drivers everywhere. “Hurry up and wait” is no better than “take your time, you’re going to have to wait anyway”.

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