“DAAAH!” Charles screamed as he slammed on the brakes upon seeing a red light. He looked around the intersection and realized he was the only one there. No other cars in sight, no one waiting to cross the intersection. A typical scenario for his predawn commute.
“COME ON!” Charles roared. “I have to be at work in 11 minutes! Why is this light red when I’m the only one here?”
Charles drummed his fingers on his steering wheel as he grew more and more impatient. Then he saw the clock change to 5:50, a sight that served only to further fuel his rage.
Looking around one more time to make sure he was alone, he stepped on the gas pedal to cross the the intersection with the light still red. Charles felt triumphant for daring to break the law and perhaps a little guilty at the same time. He continued his drive to the onramp to merge with the interstate. He felt better knowing he’d make it to work on time after all.
Meanwhile, something was happening at the traffic light guarding the intersection just now vacated by Charles during his illegal maneuver. It began transmitting data to other traffic lights in the surrounding vicinity.
Attention all units. Breach of traffic law committed by silver Volkswagen Scirocco. Last seen headed north on the interstate. Be on the alert.
A few minutes later, Charles got off at his planned exit from the interstate with time to spare. All that stood between him and his timely arrival was one more traffic light just before the building where he worked. This traffic light took notice of Charles’s arrival.
Perpetrator in sight.
Much to Charles’s annoyance, the traffic light turned red. Again there was no one waiting to cross the intersection.
Extended containment in progress.
“Why do these lights keep changing for NO REASON!” Charles bellowed. “I have to be at work in 2 MINUTES!”
Charles grew more and more impatient as he stared at the red light. He revved up his engine in preparation for another daring dash across the intersection. Once again there was no one coming, no one else on the road.
The clock read 5:59.
“DAAAH!” Charles screamed as he floored the gas pedal to send his tires spinning as his car screamed across the intersection. A police car at a nearby gas station turned on its blue lights and pulled Charles over.
Charles received a ticket and arrived at work 10 minutes late. After he parked his car, he stormed across the parking lot. Just before he entered the building, he stopped to flash a middle finger at the traffic light that so disrupted his commute.
Perpetrator seen executing obscene hand gesture. Seeking permission to retaliate.
For a brief instant, the traffic light’s usual colors were replaced with three images of raised middle fingers. Charles stopped in his tracks, not believing what he had just seen. He stood outside for another 10 minutes while staring at the traffic light. Shaking his head, he finally opened the door and disappeared inside the building.
Perpetrator now in a persistent state of puzzlement.
Well done, everyone.