The onset of the coronavirus with its protocols such as stay-at-home, isolation, social distancing, and quarantines didn’t make me a grouch. I had a solid grip on that going in. It did, however, provide me with the time to categorize and compile my many complaints, making my griping much more efficient. Now I only have to pick one, or if conditions arise that brings one to the forefront, I can run with that.

The topic for today comes from a reader in Hoboken. No, wait a minute we don’t publish in Hoboken. It was actually a pop-up category that came to light during a recent outing with the goodwife. We had stopped at a traffic signal. Now, understand that I like traffic signals. They provide opportunity at difficult locations for either high traffic flows in all directions or imbalanced traffic flows to have an opportunity to move freely. That is either a function of a sensory mechanism that finds convenient interruptions in traffic and stops the main flow in order to allow connecting arteries access or by pre-set timed functions that permit somewhat balanced traffic flows free access and then alternates between the two. An excellent example of this can be found on 7th Street and also on Main Street in Joplin. If you maintain the correct speed, you are permitted free flow through certain areas. That brings up another important function of traffic signals, speed control. I could go into great detail about both of these functions and the mechanics of sensory mechanisms and controllers, but we will save that for boring the goodwife at some point.

The condition that activated this gripe session was as follows: We arrived at the traffic signal as it turned to a stop condition. Shortly other vehicles began to arrive, but they were all either behind us in the westbound lane or opposite us in the eastbound lane. There were no other vehicles present. None in the turn lanes, none in the lanes of the northbound or southbound traffic, none in the turn lanes adjacent to those two directions. Nothing anywhere. As we sat there for what I want to call two minutes, burning fuel, twiddling our thumbs, looking around for the cause of the stopped condition, nothing happened. Maybe, the video sensor failed, I don’t think so, but we were all stopped, waiting, patiently waiting. Well, maybe some of us weren’t so patient, but I stayed still.

Having been employed by MoDOT for most of my working life and assigned to task where I knew and understood the components that operates such signals, I could only begin with a dialogue about how this imposed an inconvenience upon the public by such inept use of this equipment.

That’s my take and explanation of my response. The goodwife calls it griping and responded with, “Call 1-800-946-22737.” The last 7 is really unnecessary. I figured out that translates to 1-800-Who-Cares. Well, it is time for the next portion of the bout, and I see the ring girl is holding Round 2.

-Paul Richardson writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for The Aurora Advertiser and the Neosho Daily News.