So here, as promised, is part one of a project I’m happy to believe will actually do something for humanity. Sorry for the colorful-but-less-than-triumphantly didactic Graph Lessons.
See, it all started with a modest offer to a company whose name I found on a tossed-away Installation Sheet in the weeds near the empty trash can (where else?) near our new Traffic Circle. In my letter I simply introduced myself briefly, and expressed my willingness to play a part in…well.., read on..
As it turns out, none other than Senior Vice-President for Customer Relations Alonzo B. Nye of “Nye’s-Trip Tees“, one of the leading Intersection Planning and Execution firms on the international scene found the time to answer my letter. His response, I believe, explains it all..
My Dear yonatan:
Thank you for your inquiry. To be absolutely frank, we have been looking for some time now for a liason/translator with your obvious qualifications. Believe me, the volume of mail from your country regarding alleged poor through-put of our time-tested Tee-intersections, including, incredibly, the new Super-Tee/99, which I might mention has a spotless performance record in most of our other markets, has been noted frequently with dismay at staff meetings. Let me say, discretely, that there seems to be a certain “difficulty”, for whatever reason, in implementing what should be, in principal, a “no-brainer” traffic solution, in areas with a…um…high concentration of peoples of your Mosaic persuasion. This being somewhat of a sensitive matter, we would suggest that you take the (attached) Standard Troubleshooting Manual, and, without insinuation or recrimination “adapt” it to your co-religionists’ “special needs”. Having read your writing samples, let me say that we have full faith in your ability to tactfully carry out this task. God willing, some day soon we may even be able to joke about what you amusingly term “Tees for the Chosen.” Sincerely, Alonzo “Al” Nye
Ok, the STM was basically boiler-plate stuff, a quick read, actually. A sweet tone pervaded its advice on sign-placement, preservation of clear sight-lines, road marking templates. The impression was of a company who sincerely wanted to be helpful, useful, motherly, I’d even say. And what Al couldn’t have known was that intersection ettiquette was for me not some quick idea I’d come up with to get a closer look at the new 500 Euro bill. No, I’d had this “jook b’rosh“(cockroach in the head, lit. or ‘an idea which won’t go away’) since ’94, when I’d done the lion’s share of the field research for Prof. DeSotre’s definitive psycho-traffic analysis paper. (Tel Aviv University Press, 1996) Think hours of sitting at intersections carefully writing down all 17 parameters for each stupid Subaru. I’ll also take credit for the now-standard acronym, ACRIDS, (Acquired, Culturally-Reinforced Insolent Driver Syndrome). Although my thin popularization book, “The Man Who Mistook his Wife’s Subaru for a Penis” didn’t do much more than raise a few eyebrows in the cut-out racks, I decided about a year ago to take a few months off from the Institute to “write the book” on bad drivers. Those “Red-light Rambo’s” we’re all too familiar with. Nothing less than the “Ram-zor Rambam“, my goal here.. (‘ram’zor‘=hebrew for traffic-light, ‘Ram’bam‘, Acronym for Moses Maimonides, middle-ages author of “A guide to the Perplexed”, treatises on Halacha, the Jewish law and its practice) Wow, that was quite a paranthetical, but I was afraid you wouldn’t get the pun, as usual, dear reader. My new book I’ll probably call “Standards for the Vershtunken“. No parantheses..look it up yourself.
Soooo… let’s jump in headfirst and layout the “first principles” of the “Tee Intersection” It will soon be obvious that we have both “Day one” problems, that is, issues inherent in the very fact of merging two or more traffic flows, and “Derivative” problems, our local specialty, caused by drivers who assume, rightfully and sadly, that “day one” problems have yet to be mastered and overcome by their fellow motorists. A few drawings may help here: