Stop Light

(This is the kind of blog I would write if I was high)

I stopped at a traffic light today. Something about it transfixed me. Something indelible, profound, and deep. I was watching the sign sway in the breeze. A box of lights suspended from a black cable bobbing gently up and down in the rainy morning against a cold gray and blue sky. The meaning of life is hidden somewhere in that scene. Maybe we’re all traffic lights swaying to the currents of the world. The transition of colors might represent the natural cycles of our lives. Maybe we’re all just as predictable. Never green for long enough, always turning yellow when you least expect it and glowing angry red for longer than you should be. I sat there watching, thinking, learning from the wisdom of it all.

The red light held me in its thrall. I waited, anxious, balancing on the edge of anticipation. Seconds grew into unfathomable lengths. They became eras, eons, epochs. I knew green was coming. Any moment now. The drama built with the slow tension of a winding spring. And what would I do when the red light faded to black and the green glow shown down upon me? The rule of red is stillness, patience, humility. The law of green is action, motion, progress. Would I pass beneath the emerald blaze as I had done countless times before? Could I do anything but obey the unspoken command? Was I free to choose? And if not, did that make me a slave?

Before I could ponder further, one shine winked out of existence and it’s opposite flared bright above me. Suddenly, I was staring into the great green eye of order, the jade pupil of law and discipline. I did not budge though, I did not bend, I did not break. None may command me. I am my own. I bow before no ideal, I succumb to no one’s rule, not even my own. I would sit belligerently beneath the baleful lime stare for as long as it pleased me to do so. I would not be moved.

Apparently there were cars behind me. I hadn’t seen them nose up to my bumper but a few moments after the traffic light erupted with verdant incandescence, they chose to announce themselves. The shrill beep and sharp cry of horns took flight into the chilly air like angry birds. Their honking grew in frequency, the rhythm became more frantic, soon the entire line of vehicles joined in. Were these motorists or a pack of steel wolves baying at the green moon? Were we all clockwork carnivores with souls of flesh and had I inadvertently become the head of their pack? I was at the front of the line, they knew better than to pass me on this one-lane street. Were their cries signs of submission? Was I the alpha motorist then? Is that what leadership is, I wondered. Is it the willingness to break rules, to think freely, to weather the storm of discontent and expectation? Those who obeyed blindly would always be followers, drones. I was convinced that the brave few who sat staring at green traffic lights were destined to lead.

Yes, I know some things. Deep, mind-boggling, life-changing stuff just leaps into my brain every now and again. I could pen a book about stoplights. I could rewrite the Toa Te Ching with everything I’d learned in those 140 seconds. I could have stayed there all day, watching, meditating, listening to the lesser motorists curse my mother. But I suddenly had the munchies. The world called to me.


About thelastmonte

I'm a ninja for hire An ice cube on fire A soothsayer and liar Deceitful, dashing and dire A menacing muse muddling meanings in the mire My mind tumbles around like a cat in a dryer When it comes down to the wire I get lit like a pyre Kicking hobbits out the shire In jet black attire like a cocaine supplier And I aspire to acquire your ire Oh, and I also do freelance work.
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