Aggravation at an intersection

Fixing traffic light10 things that vex me to some degree or the other at traffic intersections, in decreasing order of annoyance.

  1. Traffic lights that don’t fucking work due to power-outs, poor maintenance or, idiots who have ridden them over.
  2. Impatient morons who take off before the traffic lights change, in order to get to the next set of RED traffic lights a few seconds before you.
  3. Traffic cops who lounge in their vehicles when they should clearly be directing traffic.
  4. People handing out flyers and pamphlets, especially when there’s a whole bunch of them queuing up to get to your car window, each with a different bill… and then to be faced with more of them with the same useless pieces of paper at the very next intersection, and the one after.
  5. Do-gooders (or not) collecting money for their churches or temples or other religious organization. Really people, if you’re going to be standing out in the hot sun collecting funds, then at least desist from trying so hard to convince me that prayer works.
  6. Hawkers selling cheap Chinese junk that nobody wants, but some are coaxed to buy in sympathy, and “support” informal trading. What kind of an idiot buys electronic products at an intersection? I really wouldn’t mind so much if they actually sold something useful. Fruit and vegetables aren’t too bad, except when they try to slip in some rotten apples in the carefully made-up packs.
  7. Students who don garish, often absurd outfits (men wearing tutus and dresses are common) and plead for money so that they can attend some sporting event, or go on vacation or some other pretence. Even worse, are the guys (and sometimes gals) who actually collect money to pay for their weddings. Why should I have to pay when I’m not even invited, so that you can impress your friends and family with a formal wedding which you can’t afford? True love means never having to splurge on a wedding… or something like that.
  8. People who insist on crossing the street after the traffic lights have changed, then stare angrily at motorists who now have right of way.
  9. Panhandlers who insist on washing your windscreen, after making it quite clear that you don’t need the “service.”
  10. Adults who beg. I honestly feel for you, but there’s just too many of you at too many intersections, all day, every day, and I really can’t support you indefinitely. I’m however quite happy to hand out loose change occasionally, when I do have some available.

Cameras, Revenue Generators and Automobiles

Earlier this afternoon, while at a local shopping mall, I noticed a duo of female traffic officers on foot, issuing traffic tickets to vehicles parked in the (private) parking area adjoining the mall. I stopped to observe for a while because I hadn’t seen this variety of traffic officer in quite a while. In the old days we used to refer to female traffic officers as “meter maids” because they would ticket vehicles parked next to expired parking meters on city streets.
I approached them to enquire under what municipal by-law they were authorised to issue traffic fines on private property (the shopping mall is presumably private property). It was obvious they didn’t know, and one lady indicated that because the entrance to the mall did not have boom gates, it was deemed an extension of municipal property and thus subject to the jurisdiction of the local Metro Police. By this logic, the land attached to my home could also be regarded as municipal property because I do not have boom gates installed at the entrance, either. Not satisfied, I left to continue my shopping, and when I re-emerged from the mall, about half an hour later, the “meter maids” had disappeared.
When I got home, I sent a mail off to the Mayors office enquiring about the legality of issuing traffic fines on private property and vented my anger. To quote myself, I wrote “I wish to also state that I find this activity of the Metro Police extremely reprehensible since they are clearly ‘lazy’ or incompetent or both in chasing the real threats to road safety, but are content to ‘camp’ at shopping malls chasing easy targets.”
My anger at the behaviour of our Metro Police is shared by practically everyone in this country. Daily we observe these fat pigs sitting comfortably under conveniently located shady trees, pointing speed cameras at passing motorists, while ignoring the traffic chaos caused by faulty traffic lights, a few blocks down the road. Their first priority is to issue as many traffic fines as possible. Traffic safety is not even secondary; it is an irritation that gets in the way of their daily siestas. That they are primarily employed to generate revenue for the local Metro Councils, is a well known source of mirth for the public.
And it just gets worse with the advent of newer technology. As the sophistication of the camera equipment they use to trap motorists, improves, their mobility correspondingly decreases. They no longer have to place these twin strips of wire (connected to a trapping unit) on the roads and then jump up from their seated position to flag down an offending motorist. No, these days all they need to do is sit comfortably under a shaded tree and the trapping equipment captures a photograph of the speeding vehicle. There are even fixed position cameras mounted on poles at various sites along motorways, which presumably frees the traffic pigs to enjoy longer siestas elsewhere. As a result of this decreased mobility, it’s not hard to notice how the girths of most traffic pigs have steadily increased.
The other irritation for motorists these days apart from the constant traffic, is the road blocks set up frequently by the Metro Police (read traffic pigs) to find those who have defaulted on payment of traffic fines. And the amazing thing is that these bastards don’t even try to hide the fact that they are stopping vehicles, invariably causing huge traffic congestion, just to look for motorists with outstanding payments against their names. The expenditure on the technology, manpower and vehicles to perform these exercises is an abomination and a criminal waste of taxpayers money.
Are we going to get real traffic officers back? Nah, I don’t believe so. Using these dimwits for revenue generation is proving to be a real rosy deal for the powers that be…