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.