Distraction

The placement of mirrors near the elevators of all hotels is intentional.  People don’t notice the wait as much when they can look at themselves in the mirror.  It makes for a more pleasant ‘waiting for the elevator’ experience.  In casinos you’d be hard pressed to find a clock on the wall, or a window to the outside.  They also don’t want you to become aware of the passage of time.

At controlled intersections throughout the city, you’ll find buttons on traffic lights that pedestrians may press, presumably to let the traffic light know that it should change so pedestrians may proceed safely across the street.

Some buttons are fancier than others… they make a sound when you touch them.  It makes you feel like a change in the light is imminent.  Perhaps even more imminentier.  You stand there and you feel powerful.  With one touch of your finger, you stop traffic.  Machines bend to your will, and a clear path is made for you.  They all stop for you… big semi trucks, buses, beaters, luxury cars… all of them.  They stop for you – a mere pedestrian.

So you’re standing at the intersection feeling all powerful and smug, waiting for your light to change.  Then along come some schmoe who walks up to your traffic light, the one you’re standing beside, and presses a different button, the one that points in the opposite direction.  He wants the traffic light to bend to his will, and not yours.  He’s fucking with your traffic light!

But you say nothing.  You stand there and you wait for your light to change.  You pressed the button first, and you’re going to cross first… and indeed, your light does change first.  You proceed to cross and you try to forget about the schmoe who dared infringe on your day.  You look over your shoulder as you cross safely in front of all that traffic, and you see him standing there, waiting for his light to change.  Sucker!

Then a thought crosses your mind.  It’s a disturbing thought.  What if these buttons didn’t do shit, and they were simply the traffic light’s way of keeping you content.  Keeping you captive, like some voluntary captive just waiting… waiting… waiting for the light to take its sweet time to change.  And you don’t notice because you pushed the button.  You’re standing there feeling all powerful and smug and the traffic light just stands there, laughing at you.

You stop in the middle of traffic.  The light starts blinking and you turn around and stare at it.  It blinks.  It threatens you with another imminent change.   And with everyone staring at you, sitting in their cars, trucks, buses, or watching from street corners next to their own traffic lights, you hold your ground.  You’re not going to let that light run your life.

Canada is a democracy, and you have free will.  You are not going to let some stupid traffic light control your life.  It blinks faster now… more threatening.  And you think about hotel elevators, and casinos, and perfectly centred progress bars on computer screens, and raising your hand before you speak… and then the honking starts.

You’re standing amongst a sea of cars and they all want the piece of real estate that you currently occupy.  You see ‘em lining up, waiting… waiting… waiting… and now you’re in control.  But it’s an uncomfortable control.  People are yelling at you now, and cars are swirling around you.  There’s nowhere to go.  It’s chaos.  And you look over and you see the traffic light, patronizing you.  One blink and it can fix your predicament.

You can chart your own path, oblivious to all the stuff going on around you, or you can work within the system.  What’s it gonna be?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s