Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Dread Zeppelin ‘Un-Led-Ed’
The work going on in downtown Greensboro has caused me to use a route that I normally don’t travel. There’s something called Bellemeade Village, or some shit, going up near the First Horizon Park. The existing sewer lines won’t be able to handle the load, so they’ve closed down a four-lane Battleground Ave to two lanes. And they’ve also managed to screw up traffic on Spring Street.
Now I go into town using N. Elm Street and although it may be a little longer where the miles are concerned, it takes a shorter amount of time to get to my destination. For one thing, there aren’t as many stoplights along the way to stagger the traffic (Those lights where Lawndale and Battleground meet are real ball-busters). In fact, I love the rotary, rounder, or round a bout (everyone has their own word for the damn thing) where N. Elm, Old Lake Jeanette, and Lake Jeanette meet.
The rotary is a traffic circle where traffic doesn’t come to a stand still like it does at stoplights. You ease into it making sure to yield the right of way to the other motorists. There’s very little reason to get aggravated, unless you get behind folks that have no idea what the word “yield” actually means or they have no idea what to do when they encounter the foreign traffic design.
It seems to me that most North Carolinians are under the impression that the word “yield” means to “stop”. I’ve seen them on the Interstate onramps where idiots come to a complete stop when they should be gaining speed to blend into traffic. I’ve seen them at the rotary coming to a complete stop when there are absolutely no other cars motoring around the thing. It drives me CRAZY!
Just last week when I was called in to help with the Two Guys Named Chris Show, I took the rotary route to work because I didn’t want to get all backed up and aggravated with Battleground and Spring St. It was a beautiful fall morning where the sun was about to burn off the early fog and there was very little traffic. Ahead, I could see three cars approaching the rotary. I got there as the second got into the rotary with a fine job of understanding the word “yield”. They didn’t come to a complete stop. No! In fact they never stopped rolling. I haphazardly guessed that the driver was from out of state or they possessed common sense. Maybe… They were even a genius!
The driver in front of me driving a yellowish Cadillac came to a complete stop and there wasn’t a damn thing coming. I yelled, “Dammit! You F’ing idiot! YIELD does not mean stop! Come on, mother f’er, let’s go!”
I frequently yell at other drivers on the roads when stupidity rears it’s ugly head and I once had a girlfriend that was concerned about my “road rage”. I explained to her that I could keep it all bottled up inside and when I see her, the slightest little thing could set me off and cause me to yell at the stupidest thing or slightest provocation. She never said anything about it again.
I blow it out of my system right then and there. I don’t follow people and track them down for a confrontation. I let my emotions go and therefore I’m better. I’m not interested in getting shot or stabbed. I’m yelling in my truck and I’m not hurting anyone. I’m releasing the potential stomach ulcers by yelling at idiots.
I had my window down and they also had their window down. I knew that she heard me because her arm shot out the open window and the middle finger was extended to give me the “I heard you” signal.
Of course, I didn’t care. I started laughing and let it go. I didn’t pull up beside her at the next light to correct her understanding of the word “yield”, I had let it go and it was gone.
And I’ve noticed pedestrians having problems with the rotary on Greene Street. The clearly marked crossings must be painted with special pigments seen only by the folks with common sense or once again, folks from out of state.
After the United Way kick off celebration at Governmental Plaza, I drove the 1075KZL Van back to the station. I took Greene St. and I encountered the rotary. As I came around the turn, a man stepped one foot off the inner sidewalk and quickly pulled back. I was as surprised as he was. He was dressed in a suit and was carrying a briefcase. Even with the marked pedestrian crossings, this mental giant thought it would be a good idea to just cut through the center on foot and as quickly as he could without any regard to personal safety.
Is Greensboro ready for these tried and true traffic devices?
I know that I put down Europeans a lot… There’s soccer, lack of bathing, and little air-conditioning that brings me to my conclusions. But you know what… When it comes to traffic… They may have something there. I love the rotary!
Maybe the first step in understanding how to use the rotary is what to call it. If we can all come up with the perfect name that can be widely accepted and used, perhaps we can all better navigate throughout our city’s streets.