Caught on blacktop roads that had long retired after a hard days work, I longed to be home sleeping in my top bunk. I anxiously pulled up to a multiple light intersection and I faithfully sat, watching, waiting, fixating on the bright red blaze radiating in the darkness ahead. All concentration focused on the expected green illumination permitting me access to the high speeds of freeway travel. I waited, and waited. My right foot slowly let off the break peddle as the light to my right switched from green, to yellow, to red. Still no signal to advocate my pillow desiring case. The light to my LEFT promptly turned green. I waited, and waited. The light to my left then turned from green, to yellow, to red. Again, my break lights disappeared as my foot slipped in anticipation. The light to my right again turned green. Frustrated being the lone car on the road and not seeing any other vehicle to take advantage of the color changes taking place to my left and right, I contemplated moving ahead despite the incorrect coloring that laced my view. Like an owl, my head swiveled to and fro searching for the black and white of the police that was positively hiding in the shadows. I felt devious as I inched forward ready to ignore the light ahead but my conscious overcame me as I came to an abrupt stop. Five more minutes and several yawns later my light finally gave way. Luckily on this night I was able to maintain my status as a law-abiding citizen.
I’m sure that if you’ve ever taken the place behind a steering wheel past midnight you’ve had a similar experience. Even if you haven’t, take it from Shel, he knows.
Are we crazy? The malfunction of a light kept me from my precious dreams several minutes longer than necessary. How often do we allow strict obedience to a malfunctioning system triumph over our logic? Is that ok?
“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes