Friday, April 22, 2016

How the Red Sea (of Traffic) Parted

Garrett Morgan
The Red Sea is everywhere. Just try to cross the street. A good 50% of the time you’re faced with a red light, which when it changes to green immediately stops the oncoming traffic. Moses used a staff; you press the button on a lamp post. The waters aka waves of traffic then part and you’re free to pass. If you try to proceed against the traffic on most thoroughfares you're obliterated just as the Jews would have drowned in the biblical story. Actually if you believe in a supreme being he made his presence felt through an African American inventor named Garrett Morgan who received patent No 1,475, 024 for his three position traffic signal in l923. Apparently Morgan was motivated to do something when he saw a car crash. Whoever thought that crossing the street could be one of those God moments in which some common occurrence, ordinarily taken for granted, enables us to take a broader view of experience? Perhaps on any given day, you're thinking of what you could have said in the argument you were having, where you ended up getting the short end of the stick. As you walk out onto the street you're lost in thought, not seeing any of the world around you, as you try to reimagine the altercation and undo the past. But then for a moment you're forced to stop. It might not be at the first intersection, but you're not always going to have green lights. Whenever it occurs  facing the red light, you're momentary brought back to your senses. You're forced to cut short your inner monologue, your rendezvous with the plethora of impossibility that always configures the attempt to change the past.

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