The red seemed permanent, I rapped anxiously on my steering wheel, and glared at the traffic light in as intimidating a manner as was humanly possible. Staring hadn’t worked either, I’d blinked over a dozen times and yet still the angry crimson orb peered, back at me, as constant as the throbbing in my brain.
Several car horns , repeatedly voiced their opinion of our current predicament, but mine did not join the chorus. It was with me at the front of the line,
I was so tempted to abandon my little Corolla, and walk home; I probably would have, too, if I hadn’t just made the final payment on her, two weeks earlier, and if home wasn’t, at least, twenty-three kilometers away, of course.
With so few vehicles approaching from any of the three, alternative directions the other temptation was to jump the light and get on with my day. Why didn’t I ? That is a great question, I am glad you asked it in so timely a fashion.
Not twenty feet from where I waited, with rapidly dwindling patience, sat a Vancouver City police car. It was unoccupied, but I somehow sensed that it’s driver was, even as we speak, scrutinizing this scene from his window seat in Madison’s Cafe.
I wondered how long he could possibly leave it before he intervened, and ushered us dutifully through the intersection. A new city ordinance against the use of a cell phone whilst behind the wheel of a running motor vehicle was, for the moment, preventing me from summoning himself, or one of his colleagues.
A few cars were, now, performing illegal u-turns; Others were zipping past me, in the inside lane, and turning right. I counted to twenty a half a dozen times, but still I waited, and still I stared at that, confounded, red light! It would have been so simple to break that law, many others would have, of that I am sure. Curse my parents for raising a lily-livered, law-abiding citizen!
I turned on the radio, half expecting to be mentioned, on the traffic report. Speaking of traffic, it was backed up, behind me, by now, for several city blocks at least. People were hollering, horns were blaring and my head was pounding like a thousand Ringo Starrs. I rested my right hand on the hand-brake lever, and sat poised with one foot hovering over the clutch, and the other by the throttle. My patience was at an end. I was all set to break the law!
The guy behind me finally lost it, he yelled at my rear-view mirror while waving his up-raised fist in some sort of unfriendly salute. His big-block Chevy engine roared angrily, clearly in tune with its agitated owner, and his vehicle pulled out and around mine in an, impressively, aggressive leap. As his head drew even with my passenger-side window, he glowered at me and I clearly remember the throbbing vein, dancing away on his glistening forehead; well that, and then as the Chevy accelerated into the intersection, the squeal of protesting tires and brakes, and the gut-wrenching explosion as two perfectly good vehicles became one mass of smoking rubble.