Unbutton

When did we start pushing buttons on every corner?

Maybe some titled agency conducted a study that determined people waste point-however-many-minutes waiting for traffic lights to change. That those minutes equaled point-point-lost-dollars in revenues. It is possible a think-tank or non-profit group decided something had to be done about the anxiety-inducing wait.

Whatever the reason, someone decided the regular cycle of light changes were no longer efficient. Contracts were signed, buttons constructed, and now we have a way to say, “Hello. I need to get across the street. I have places to be, deadlines, meetings, and checkboxes.”

I’m probably reading too much into this, but as my life moves on, I’m kind of pissed that there’s less corner time.

I have stood at more crosswalks than I can count. Michael and I have held each other’s hand or little hands. We have been shoulder to shoulder or smooshed in a crowd. We have decided to turn around, purchased food, wiped noses and even kissed before the lights and dinging prodded us between the white lines.

Don’t misunderstand me, there have been an equal number of corner moments spent anticipating another late arrival, shifting bags and cursing shoe choices. I have been trapped in toddler meltdowns waiting for lights and railed against traffic, convinced it was the universe punishing me for being judgemental or petty or stupid.

I’m not saying we should all kumbaya everytime the blinking hand turns red, but I am suggesting that life is unbearable without pause. That we need the distraction of pigeons pecking a stale piece of hotdog bun or a musician strumming behind an upturned cap, to make the rest of the journey worth putting on deodorant.

We have to move. I understand the hustle, but corners are rest before the rush, and without them, we are left with, well rush.

People make eye contact on corners. They literally have to look up to avoid getting hit by a bus. They have to stop.

So much can happen in that pause. Corners are where we fidget, argue, sing, dance, eat and laugh in preparation to step off the next curb.

With due respect to the button makers, quit pushing.

My thoughts from the laundry room. Power Nap.

4 Replies to “Unbutton”

  1. I hear you! When I’m in the city, I’m usually moving fast while walking so as not to get run over by my fellow pedestrians. But when I stop, it’s the few moments I have to really observe my fellow humans–and the fill-in-the-blank (holiday decorations, tour bus, river).

  2. I hate those buttons. Almost always as it tells you to go someone decides to make that right turn or left turn right in your path, and by the time that’s straightened out the light is waving at you to ‘wait…wait…wait’. In some places, it’s easier to walk up the side street to the next crosswalk and cross there. You only have two streams of traffic, instead of 6 or 8. Sometimes it’s a better bargain.

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