When the Traffic Lights Die

Control. We watch the cars in front of us, eagerly waiting their turn to join the long queue snaking its way to the roundabout that will join us to the motorway. Only the rude drivers honk their horns in our neighbourhood. Everyone feigns patience whilst boiling in the morning sun.

Waiting. The little old lady driving the Nissan Note seems to have a problem finding third gear and grinds her way into fourth; not very helpful when taking off from a slow start. Trying to outdo her ineptitude, guy in the grey suit, striped pink shirt with clashing purple tie attempts to overtake her with a build up of semi-annoyed, feigning patient drivers watching him. Big scary man in the white van efficiently blocks him. Cussing through windscreens makes us all giggle and suddenly the lane moves forward two car spaces.

Movement. Engines rev with enthusiasm and we can taste the freedom of the open motorway coming ever so close. The snake is slowly getting shorter. Toyota Yaris burps out loud thumping music from Capital FM. Time to wind up the window again. We don’t want to interrupt our personal stream of Capital FM and it’s more fun watching boy with modern haircut bop to our beat! Another car escapes onto the open road. We are one step closer.

Lights Change Everything. Nissan Note lady has gone with her knight in shining white van. Yuppie in the grey suit has sped off and Yaris disappeared into the morning haze. That leaves us and the competing MPV in the next lane. We watch the traffic lights. Red, amber, green, amber then red again. No movement as the road is gridlocked. Two more changes and I fire up the air con to full. Blasts of icy air cool the steering wheel. I gaze at the traffic and the car next to me. Control, wait, move. Suddenly red, amber and green flicker and die. The dark, empty faces of the traffic lights stare back at us. Time of death, 9.30am.

We hesitate only for a moment. A sigh escapes from every car held back. The road clears as though sensing its inhibitors removed. In unison, we press down on the accelerators and jet through the roundabout, onto the motorway. We are free at last!

See you at the same time tomorrow morning!


4 responses to “When the Traffic Lights Die

  1. Driving through the city is a nightmare which I avoid as much as possible!


  2. Love the energy in this piece; subdued yet electric


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