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Sunday, May 10, 2009


I fantasize that I was in the room when traffic rules were established. The conference room always looks like an Edward Hopper painting and I’m making a point in a conservative scarlet suit.

“You’re telling me people who want to make left turns are going to WAIT in the MIDDLE OF AN INTERSECTION for the light to turn YELLOW and then just turn without knowing whether the oncoming traffic is going to STOP?!”

They tap their pens and a stubby man pipes up, "Well, Lizzy? Can you think of a better solution?"

And then my moment: “I say we prohibit all left turns.”

A deep silence swells and one man with slick black hair rises from his chair.

He scratches out a Goodwill Hunting-esque equation on a dry erase board that proves mathematically how only taking right turns will slow the flow of traffic by seventy-five percent and also waste x-amount of fuel.

"Choose your battles," I scribble in the margin of my legal pad where I've also doodled flowers and a certain kind of spiral I learned to draw from watching a show called The Secret City.

There he is. Commander Mark. After I learned how to draw spirals I only wanted to draw things where I could apply my technique; beanstocks, telephone cords, and cartoonish drawings of "crazy" people with spirals flying out of their brains.

Neither Commander Mark nor dry erase boards existed back in the 20s around the time traffic lights were invented. I tend to abandon chronological order, and not just in my fantasies. I need to look at a timeline in order to process a sequence of events. Once my friend Jodi and I made timelines of our lives but they made us sick to our stomachs so we burned them outside The Hungarian Pastry Shop.

I also struggle when I'm learning the rules for board games. The other night I was at a party where a woman was explaining how to play Scattergories. I even took notes on my little pad of paper with my tiny pencil, the kind you have to press down on really hard.

I wrote:

3 category cards
12 blank lines
4 lists
2 lists of 12 categories

What the hell. So now I have to solve a puzzle before I can play a game?
Then I looked down and saw the 20-sided die and felt Oh Dear's slip through my body.

"So how does all this connect?" I asked.

And pretty soon everyone forgot about Scattergories and started eating macaroni.

1 comment:

  1. More left turn arrows and flashing greens, I say!