This happened not too long ago

Like digging up a relic from the past, mining the vaults of mikeoconnelljr.com brings genuine surprise from time to time. The following piece, which should have been published on October 18, 2019, I found last night in the “events” folder of the site, not the “posts” folder. Whoops. It reads like something from another time (it is), back when people used to, you know, drive their cars around and go places. Let me take you back to those pre-corona days…

 

Phantom traffic

A traffic light near my house was “decommissioned” last week.

Decommissioned.

That means they turned it off.

Actually, I’m not sure whether it’s off or not. There are giant black garbage bags over the lights, obscuring the fixtures themselves and whether or not they are in fact functioning. The cross street is now closed, giant orange barrels blocking would-be turn-offers and turn-oners. Genius.

Presumably this should cut 30 seconds or a minute off my average commute time. But there’s one problem. People still slow down as they approach the erstwhile light, thinking, perhaps, it might turn red. You know, after the bags fly off and the barrels simultaneously disappear.

Psychologists call this condition “phantom traffic.”

I call it #smh.

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About moc

My name is Mike O'Connell. I am 36 years old and live in Northern Virginia. I am a teacher, a musician, and an enthusiast of all things American.

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