My Traffic Light

When I was about 25, I had a friend who worked for the city as a traffic light repairman. When a traffic light bulb would burn out or something would go wrong, they would call him on a police radio he carried with him. “3 17, traffic light out on Stanley and Gilbert.” He would then hop into his big yellow bucket truck and speed off to the intersection in question.

This town still had electric busses that had trolley poles projecting off the back of the bus touching two overhead high voltage wires suspended between light poles. Once in a while, a bus would loose its connection and get caught in the traffic light lines blowing out all of the lights and the controller for that intersection. So, my friend would be up all night rewiring the lights.

Well, needless to say, he had many tales about his adventures with traffic signals, intersections, accidental encounters, break fluid, the police, and the bus company.

Anyhow, one day he showed up at my door and said he had a present for me, a token of his appreciation for our friendship. He then carried in this huge big green and yellow thing that was about 3 feet tall and about a foot wide and almost 2 feet deep. It didn’t seem to be very heavy, because he could carry it with several fingers through a hole in the top.

It was a traffic light! Seeing them from a distance, I thought they would be small, something the size of a toaster. At this time in my life, I still had not learned to drive, so, I was not that familiar with these lights which tell people what to do and when to do it.

Well, I kept this colorful symbol of arbitrating conflicting ideas for quite a few years. It sat in the corners of various basements of the various places I lived. Just recently, I decided to clean it up, wire it, attach it atop a short piece of pipe and mount it on a wood base. It now stands next to the TV, another demanding light of clashing ideologies. It makes a nifty conversation piece.

I wonder what Jung would say about this enlightened icon of do`s and don`ts that demands one`s undivided attention while being approached.

SteveS June 11, 1998

P. S.  The bottom lens appears to be blue. That`s because it is. In the old days, they used 5000 hour incandescent bulbs which were yellow in color (2400o K) hence making the resulting light appear green.