Blog and Grog
Does Green Really Mean Go?
By Bitchy Cook
Last Updated: Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 8:04:33 AM

It occurred to me today that I can measure my own level of insecurity on any given Sunday by my reaction to a traffic light.

Simple. Uncomplicated. It either is or it isn't. I either am or I'm not.

When I was younger, and just learning to drive (the time when I actually had my license..not the time when I was 12 and drove my Dad's Park Avenue Buick to school to take my friends out for lunch to McDonald's...I was sooooo cool)....I can remember the feeling of pulling up to a red light...being the first there...and watching as a multitude of cars gradually pulled to a stop both behind and beside me. Terrific feeling really...being in front. I was first. Everyone follow my lead.  Ok, so I had a little bit of an ego, even then.

But invariably, no matter how arrogant and cocky I was in those days, when that light turned green, I'd check to my right and to my left, before lifting my foot off the brake.  Most would probably think that I was doing as any driver should...checking for traffic..people running the lights in the other directions...but it wasn't that.  I was turning my head to make sure that one or the other of the drivers beside me saw that same light as green.  That they could somehow reassure me that it was ok for me to venture forth into that intersection.  Simple validation. Ok so at the time I probably would've articulated it slightly differently 'If anyone's gonna get creamed, it won't be me!'  But it really amounts to the same thing.

I was sitting at a light the other day, and when it turned green...I noticed that I did it again.  I took note of it, only because it so rarely happens any more. When I asked myself why I did it, I realized that I was feeling rather insecure about myself that day. I'd been calling my own character into question, feeling like I was coming up particularly short, and requiring assurances and validation from others that I had indeed made appropriate decisions.

In the end, we all need to trust our own judgement, stand on our own two feet and know that we've made our best decisions in any given moment...even if our best decision turns out to be a bad one.  We must take responsibility for our actions and decisions, even if we've come to regret them in hindsight.

As it happens, that day that I stole the Buick I seem to remember that I did run a red light..and ended up pulled over in a parking lot with all of us crouched down..petrified that the cops were coming to take us to jail...so I guess although I could never be sure that green meant go, it seems that even then, I knew that Red meant Stop....even if my reaction was somewhat delayed. 

Some things never change.

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