Sunday, May 26, 2013

Let's Go, Don't Wait

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
                                       -Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

For twelve years, I've been driving almost the exact same route to work. (I say almost because for the first year of this job, I lived in a different house, but even then, the drive was essentially the same. It just started a few miles closer to work. For simplicity's purpose, the drive to work I describe will only be the current one.) It goes like this:

1. Leave my development.
2. Turn left on Nova Drive.
3. Turn right on University.
4. Turn right on Miramar Parkway.
5. Turn left on Douglas Road.
6. Arrive in Hell (ha! Just kidding. Maybe).

Sounds simple enough. And it is.
But there's more to the drive than that.

In addition to turns and straight shots, there are lights. So many lights. In the beginning, even after I moved here, there weren't quite so many of them, but in the last few years, they've added a few around my house, and holy crap are they annoying. I know all lights are annoying, but these are the annoying kind of lights that are there for no apparent reason, lights in low-traffic areas where no lights are needed, lights that turn red to let one single car cross the intersection and then stay red long enough for a procession of babies to crawl across the street, lights that seemingly do nothing but interrupt the flow of traffic, causing commuters to waste gas and minutes as they idle for a long enough amount of time to go from amiable to not.

But these aren't the lights that interest me.

The lights that interest me are the other lights. The lights that have always been there.

In this order, heading south:

Davie Road Extension
The light at Memorial Pembroke
The light at Pembroke Commons
The light where all the Broward County school buses are
The light at Sherman Circle
Miramar Parkway

You may not have ever noticed this, but lights have a pattern. My lights' pattern is

depending when I leave the house, Griffin is sometimes red although usually it's green. Stirling and Davie Road Extension are green; Sheridan is red as I approach but turns green just as I get there; the light at Memorial Pembroke, Taft, Johnson, and Pembroke Commons are green; Pines is red; the light where the school buses are is green unless a car driving out has triggered it to be red; Pembroke is green; and depending on how on time I am for work, Miramar Parkway can be green or red (this is due to the amount of traffic in that area. If I'm running late, there's enough of a traffic backup to affect the cars moving through the light).

In my description, I purposely avoided using "always," but it wasn't easy. A few times I wrote it and then went back and took it away. If I'd written this blog a year ago, I wouldn't have had to do that, but in the last year, something crazy has happened.

The pattern has changed.

No, that's not true. Not has changed. Changed, as in was briefly different on more than one occasion, but is the same once again.

The first time it happened was earlier this school year when the light at Pines was green. I know a change in whether a light is red or green doesn't seem like it would garner much attention, but if you stopped at the same light every weekday from August through June for eleven years and then one morning sailed right through it, believe me--you'd notice. I certainly did. Every time I drove through it, it was something of which I was very aware, but it didn't last for very long. After three or four days, the light was back to being red, and my mornings were back to being normal.

Not ever again at Pines, but over the school year, the same thing has happened a few more times. The light at Pembroke has been red although usually it's the green I've always been accustomed to; Taft and/or Johnson are red once in a while (though never ever will they both be red on the same day); and once or twice, the lights must have shorted at Sheridan because the light's been red and stayed that way. But really, no matter what happens to shake up my morning and disrupt the flow between work and home, no matter how long the change lasts, making me think the pattern will be different for good, it eventually goes back to what I've always known. 


Whatever you're thinking right now, the answer is yes.

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