Shake harder, boy redux: The Walk Button Strikes Back
So there I am, riding eastbound on the Charles River bike path, and I stop at the North Harvard Street Bridge. There’s a lot going on here at this crossing: Storrow Drive traffic making lefts and rights to get over the river, plus traffic going both ways over the bridge, with incoming traffic trying to get onto Storrow. Thankfully, there’s a walk signal.
Precious reader, Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun is a lot of things, but a blog that doesn’t learn its lessons, it is not. I approach the crosswalk as traffic is moving over the bridge, the “Don’t Walk” signal clearly advising me to stay put. I dutifully press the walk button. Bridge traffic stops, and Storrow Drive traffic commences. Okay, I think to myself, this is perfectly acceptable, as I’m sure the walk signal is waiting for all of the lefts and rights over the bridge before telling me that it’s safe to cross. Patiently, I wait, as those lefts and rights go through the intersection.
So, treasured reader, you can imagine my dismay when the Storrow traffic stopped and the bridge traffic re-commenced. Odd, I thought. I pressed the button, and yet an entire traffic cycle went by without my safe crossing being facilitated. I repressed the button, and again watched as the bridge traffic stopped and the Storrow traffic started. Then stopped again. Without the walk signal turning on.
Now, darling reader, Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun is a lot of things, and a blog that will cut off its nose to spite its face, it is. (Hi, Mom.) I would have sat there all day waiting for this signal to turn, had I not had another cyclist behind me waiting for me to cross. So with a clearly audible “F&%$ this noise,” I hurled myself into harm’s way, braving an unsanctioned crossing, the potential for any of a number of vehicles to do unimaginable harm to my person. Thankfully, I survived. No thanks to the walk button.
I hope all of the people who commented on my original walk button travails, both on this blog and off, are reading. A lot of people have a lot of faith in this walk button thing: that faith is sadly misplaced. I’m trying to tell you people, this button is useless! It’s worse than useless; it’s purposely fooling us into thinking that we humans have any agency whatsoever over our own street-crossing agenda. We don’t! Pernicious stuff! I feel like Nietzsche’s madman, lighting a lantern in the bright morning hours:
“I have come too early,” he said then; “my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars—and yet they have done it themselves.
So let’s just keep pressing the walk button, each doing our own small part to usher in an apocalyptic nightmare future where the machines don’t serve us, but rather we serve the machines. I saw a movie about this one time. It was called Terminator 2. That one doesn’t work out too well for us humans.
This entry was posted on Monday, August 17th, 2009 at 9:50 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.