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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I'm In A Hurry (And Don't Know Why)

Posted on Tue, Oct 8, 2013 at 6:01 AM

Yesterday, I worked as a traffic control person as a favor for the manager. Normally, five days a week, I work cozily in an air-conditioned office at my desk typing away on a computer, so I am not well accustomed with the trials and tribulations that take place on a traffic control site.

The temporary worksite was at a very busy intersection directing traffic around six large construction trucks, of whose employees I was there to protect. Most people (myself included) are well aware, roadwork construction is a huge inconvenience to say the very least.

When I got ready for work yesterday morning, in addition to the required personal protective equipment, which includes a pair of steel-toed boots, that are probably the last thing you would want to have on your feet when standing in one spot all day, I wore a smile. A real and genuine smile. I was truly hoping that my smile would be reciprocated more often than not because my outlook is generally rosy and I am of the belief that you get what you give. For the most part, my smile was mirrored and to those people who returned my simple gesture (some even waved) thanks! To the rest; seriously what is the hurry? I feel sorry for you actually; I feel a deep pang of sadness for the drivers who cursed me out as they blew on by, as if I was singlehandedly responsible for ruining their day and setting them back 5 minutes of their time. There were people honking their horns incessantly as they waited in line, as if the noise alone would turn the paddle from stop to slow, when in reality there is absolutely nothing that can turn that paddle except for the all clear from the rest of the crew on site. There were more than a few people who pretended not to see my stop sign despite my every effort less hurling my entire being in front of their vehicle to get them to obey.

We as humans need to practice patience and kindness. Anyone who knows me, knows that I didn't get that virtue (patience, not kindness) and that I have a very real and true anxiety when it comes to waiting and also for being late. I get incredibly nervous when I am going to be late for anything, this includes an uncontrollable shakiness, an increased heart rate, essentially a mini panic attack, so believe me when I say that I have an honest sympathy for those people who find themselves on the wrong side of my stop/slow paddle. Still, I can't rid myself of the sheer disappointment in humanity I have, as a result of motorists bellowing at me, a complete stranger, working on the side of the road. My question to you frantically hurried people is this; can you imagine what that worksite would have looked like if my crew was not on site yesterday, and the work continued on without us? Let me tell you this, a wife and children could and most definitely would be without a husband today, a mother without a son, a niece or nephew without a favorite uncle, a softball team without a coach etc. & etc., the cause and effect goes on and on. All of the workers on that site are also contributing members in our community, we pay taxes, we have lives, loved ones and other places to be and most certainly other things to do, yet we are planted firmly on the site to protect you and everyone else who passes through to ensure that ultimately you and I both get to where we are going safely. Next time you see me or any traffic control person on the road remember that a smile and a wave could make someone's day, that we didn't wake up this morning with a vendetta to destroy your day.

Traffic control is a dangerous and mostly thankless job but somebody has to do it, there is no doubt about it. While we are busy protecting you, protect our dignity by not cursing at us, and show us a common decency, because after all when we aren't playing in traffic, we are one of you too.

The next time you are unfortunate enough to find yourself temporarily, yet abruptly halted on the wrong side of a stop/slow paddle, please remember it's only temporary, after all. Smile and wave. —White Rabbit

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