chicken

I’ve lived within one block of Studewood for fifteen years now. For at least two (and maybe more like three) of those years, the street was under construction. I worried they (the powers that be) were going to get rid of the three-lane set up. The deal is, during non “rush hour” times, the middle lane is a turn lane. During the morning commute, the middle lane becomes a second south-bound lane (toward downtown and the rest of the inside-the-loop area), and during the evening commute it reverses. Pretty simple stuff. When I moved to the Heights in ’92, the only thing identifying this change in lanes was signage with arrows and different times printed on it. Fairly confusing. These days, there are lighted boxes above the lanes every couple of blocks with a simplistic

or

X

marking the way. They are also green and red, to help you out. So, though I could forgive people for mistaking the center lane for a turn lane when the only thing telling them it wasn’t was confusing signage on the side of the road, I have a hard time giving people a break when there are lighted boxes the length of the 14-block stretch from White Oak to 20th. For people to not “get” the deal with this change-up according to time of day, they have to a) think they’re special and don’t have to follow traffic rules or b) be really fucking stupid. Bad situation either way you cut it.

So every morning as I make the usual mad dash to work, I gamble and get in the middle lane. It’s nice not being stuck behind Metro busses and old pick ups that can’t get above 17-miles-an-hour when you’re in a hurry (I always am in the morning, that’s just how I roll). And almost every morning, some jagoff going north gets in the middle lane to make a turn. So each day, I’m confronted with a game of chicken. Do I stay in the middle lane and hope the asshole figures it out before I get there? Do I get over in the far right lane and breathe Metro fumes? No sir, I opt to play chicken. Until the very last second. Keep in mind, I’m not stupid. I watch the right lane to make sure I have an easy out if I need to take it.

I would say I’m batting about .500. Half the time, the northbound fucker gets out of the way. Good thing, since it’s almost always someone in an SUV and my car is tiny.