Friday, July 15, 2011

Humor, Editorial: St. Louis, Cars, and Stop-Lights

I have lived in Saint Louis for over 25 years now, and there are still things that puzzle me. Take auto traffic: In Chicago, they drive too fast. In Memphis, people brake the instant they see a yellow traffic light.
In St. Louis, there are two habits which seem to me to verge on being anywhere from highly contradictory to insane.
First, there's the St. Louis interpretation of an Amber or Yellow light. You've all seen it. It means "gee, I think the Red light is coming next, and I sure don't want to have to stop, so I had better see if I can put this accelerator right through the floorboard". I'm sure this has happened to you: You have just embarrassingly sneaked through a Yellow light that had turned to Red in the middle of the intersection. Interestingly enough, not one but two cars have followed you across the intersection. My embarrassment turns to amazement.
Secondly, I would put a St. Louis second up against a New York minute anytime. A St. Louis second is the time it takes from the traffic light to turn Green until a car one, two, or even three vehicles behind HONKS its horn, boisterously urging people to obey and respect that Green Light.
OK, here's where I have the problem. I expect that practically everyone in St. Louis recognizes these two behaviors: 1) the Yellow sneak-through, and 2) the instant, urgent honk by people in line upon the light turning Green. How can anyone in their right mind not grasp that these are antithetical behaviors? St. Louisans, get a grip. You can either ignore the signals to stop at an intersection, or dart out immediately upon a green light. Not both. Why is the guy waiting before cautiously moving on a Green light? Because he values his life, that's why (plus he's waiting for the Yellow and Red light ignorers to get out of the way).
People, people. You've got to change one behavior or the other. It just doesn't make sense.

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