Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I have been having traffic nightmares for many years now, but lately things have become so bad I actually envisioned a gang of unemployed traffic lights syncronizing themselves on a vacant lot at Ninth and L streets NW.
A photograph was taken as proof of what I saw, and what follows is a recollection of the voices I heard.
"Did you see that idiot run through my color?" Red Light was saying.
"No," Green Light replied.
"I knew he was going to do it," Yellow Light said. "Did you see that policeman watch it and do nothing?"
"Yeah, just kept on sipping coffee like nothing happened," Red Light flashed. "Everybody knows you are suppose to stop at red lights, slow down for yellow lights and check for oncoming traffic before proceeding through 'yield' signs."
Green Light laughed. "What are you all trying to do, anyway? Did you know the best way to get whiplash in D.C. is to stop for a yield sign?
Yellow Light flashed, "Did you know a good way to die was by getting broadsided in a car crash?"
"What I see," Green Light shot back, "are drivers who must get where they are going and they must get there fast. The bossman doesn't care how people get to work; they just want that clock punched on time. And the kids sure don't care how they get back home; they just want someone there in time to fix dinner. The rule of the roads, fellow lights, is 'hump or die.' "
"More like 'hump and die,' " Red Light cautioned. "Have you seen the latest accident statistics? We're reaching a traffic fatality record. All because people are in so much of a hurry."
"Not exactly," Yellow Light interrupted. "Nearly 50 percent of all traffic fatalities occur because people are still drinking and drugging while driving."
That turned Green Light on. "I'd drink too if I had to drive in that mess. How else are drivers suppose to cope with traffic jams?"
"Leave earlier," Red Light said. "Or stay later. Teach your kids to cook."
"People wouldn't mind the traffic so much if there weren't so many unworthy cars on the road," Yellow Light said.
"A person who drives an unsafe car should be arrested," Red Light said.
"You all are jealous," Green Light beamed, "because drivers love me more than you. Don't blame drivers. Blame people who don't fix potholes. That's why so many cars are messed up."
Yellow Light agreed. "Road conditions are horrendous. Driving north through downtown Washington on 12th and 13th streets is hard labor. Closing 14th Street for six months was a crime."
"That's no excuse for what I see people do to each other," Red Light interrupted. "Drivers plan their trips before they get behind the wheel and they don't pay attention to what is going on around them. When it comes to using turn signals, forget it."
"Let me tell you what burns me up," Green Light chimed in. "Being lit up all pretty and green and having people stop because some egghead has blocked the intersection."
"If people didn't park illegally during the rush hour, traffic would move smoother and more people could pass through," Yellow Light said. "Where are the tow trucks when you really need one?
"Where is respect for yellow lights?" Red Light said. "If people didn't ignore them and try to hog their way through an intersection, then the intersections wouldn't be blocked."
"Look whose talking," Green Light laughed again. "When push comes to shove, nobody pays attention to either of you!"
"That's not funny," Yellow Light flickered. "A terrible price is being paid for disobeying the rules of the road."
"That's why some of us are unemployed," Red Light flashed. "People keep wrapping their cars around us, like it's our fault!"
I know this sounds crazy, Dr. Gridlock, but I think traffic lights really do talk. I was just wondering: Do other people hear them, too?