Dear Chicago Traffic Directors, and, in particular, the lady directing traffic at Roosevelt and Lake Shore this morning,
Can we just be honest about a few things? You are often useless. Not always. Sometimes you direct traffic for big events and you direct traffic across lights – a time when some direction is needed, because god knows people are sheep and they would follow the lights to their death if it came to that. For some reason, though, the city also employs you to direct traffic even when all you’re doing is telling people to follow the lights. This, I do not understand.
We all took driver’s ed. We all know that green means go and red means stop. And if we know anything about driving in the city, we know that yellow means gun your car and get through that light before it hits red and you face the flash of the red light camera.
Sure, rush hour is crowded and somewhat chaotic. There are always a couple tourists who don’t know how to drive in the city and they mess things up. Honestly, though, you’re not doing much to help.
Take this morning, for example. I was in the left of two right turn lanes to get onto Lake Shore Drive South. When the light turned green, we all went. When the light turned red, I was still a bit in the intersection. People coming the other direction were stuck behind me. This is not ideal. You started yelling at me to pull forward, running toward me with a snarl on your face and gesticulating wildly with your little baton, as though this was the worst thing that had ever happened in the history of ever. Here’s the thing, though. I was about five inches from the car in front of me. THERE WAS NOWHERE TO GO. Then, about two seconds later, the cars in front of me pulled forward, I pulled forward and the whole “crisis” was averted. Despite what you may believe, your yelling did not contribute to the resolution of this problem.
I get it. You’re probably either minimally educated or you’re underemployed. Either way, it sucks. You probably feel that there are many things in your life that are out of your control. Maybe you’ve even been dicked around by various authority figures in your life. You put on your traffic director uniform and suddenly you have the power. You are in control. You get that baton out and you can tell people what to do. You get a little drunk on the power.
Then it starts raining and people give you dirty looks and your job is monotonous and incredibly boring and you’re just having a bad day. You spend the day surrounded by loud engines and honking horns and bus exhaust. You probably get flipped off more than once. You probably know, deep in your soul, that you’re being employed as a way to keep the unemployment rate down and not because you’re truly needed. I really do understand your frustration. You know what though? Don’t take that shit out on me.
Let’s make a deal. I’ll try harder not to give you the annoyed look when you wave me through a green light that is OBVIOUSLY green and OBVIOUSLY I was already going or when you give me the “You have to STOP right NOW” hand when I was already stopping. And you try harder not to be such an asshole. Deal?
A knowledgeable and competent city driver.