Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light

Wilkes-Barre has a lot going for it, not the least of which is coming back to life after a long period of slow near-death. Our present mayor has had a big hand in it and I hope he sticks around for at least one more term.

Coal has left us, the garment industry is gone; in their place have come the medical industry (hospitals are industries for sure) and educational institutions, a bunch of them. The invisible taxes, parking meters and their tickets, also add to the city’s revenue stream.

But there are the curiosities which never cease to amaze me. The traffic lights are just one of them. When I came here, the lights (left/right) changed through the yellow. If you had the red, it went through yellow to green; if you had the green, it went through yellow to red, as customary.

Accident. “I had the yellow.” “No, *I* had the yellow.” One sped up to beat the red, the other jumped the approaching green.

Fire alarm. All the lights in that quadrant of the city went to flashing yellow. I guess if you couldn’t see the Big Red Firetruck, hear the siren or see the flashing lights, it might be a good idea. Maybe. Possibly. It’s also an invitation, presented on a silver platter, to have people with the best of intentions running into each other. Both concepts ended shortly after I arrived, much to my relief.