Tag Archives: Robert Deason

Four-way Stop©

A different view of traffic by Bob Deason

Stop,   Look,   Listen

trafficThe main drag in the town where I live has a number of signal lights.  If you spend any time in the downtown area, you will see lots of traffic laws being broken.  Drivers will speed up at a yellow light and end up running through the red, or turn right on red in front of someone who has the green.  There have been a number of close calls where a pedestrian (me) has almost been run down when he had the right of way . . . in a crosswalk . . . with the little “walking guy” light on (venting with righteous indignation).

However, if you move one street west, the traffic environment is totally different.  This is still an important business street, but there are no signal lights, just four-way stop signs.  People who would pull out in front of you or run you down at a signal light will come to a complete stop, smile, and wave at you to go first . . . even if they have the right of way.  I’m pretty sure that at least some of the same people travel both streets, so what is this amazingly civilizing effect?

I think it is because at a four-way stop, you actually have to look someone in the face.   Sometimes you can actually read her lips, “You go ahead.”  Then you nod or wave and say “Thank you.”  Yes, you actually say it out loud even though she can’t hear you.  It’s just the right thing to do.

I really think this is the secret to something.  When you look at someone’s face, and they look at yours, there is a connection.  You recognize that you are neighbors in one sense or another.  So my prescription for improving the world is obvious.  Eliminate signal lights and returning to stop signs.  OK, that is unrealistic and would probably cause gridlock, and maybe even economic chaos.   I guess I am just recommending that we all slow down a little and get to know our neighbors on this tiny planet.  If everyone would do that, we would all feel happier, more connected to each other, and safer crossing the street . . . in a crosswalk . . . with the walking guy light on.

photo by crazyfilmgirl

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A Perfect Breakfast©

A Story by Robert Deason

I was driving to my 35th college reunion and stopped for the night at a mid-range priced hotel that offers a free breakfast.  Whenever I spend long hours behind the wheel, I try to stay at places like this . . . but It is not really for the breakfast.  I have found that these hotels are almost always clean, comfortable, reasonably quiet, and most importantly, have a good shower.

Next morning when I went down for my free breakfast, I found that some folks from our parent’s generation (who were about to continue their bus tour) were just finishing up.  The room was small, and it was elbow to elbow at the coffee maker.  As I was waiting for my bagel to come out of the toaster, I struck up a conversation with Bernie.  He was dressed in what we would all think of as stereotypical fashion, bright plaid shirt, brighter Bermuda shorts, black socks and wing tips.  He also had on suspenders and a belt.

Remembering an old joke I said, “I see that you are a man who takes no chances.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Well, You’re wearing suspenders and a belt.”

A woman who was obviously his wife let out a sound that was a combination of a laugh, a whoop, and a yelp.  This had clearly been a topic of conversation prior to their exit from their room.  Thinking quickly, Bernie responded, “You know I’ve got to, or Maggie there will have my pants off me in no time.”  Stifled laughter escaped into the room, somewhat like a fuse being lit.  All ears were now trained in Maggie’s direction.  She put her hands on her hips, smiled sweetly and said, “Well what do you expect you big stud.”  The room exploded.  Everyone from the desk clerk to the bus boy joined in.  It was the best possible breakfast.  Belly laughs all around, with a side of tears.

Laughter is always good, but it went beyond that.  As our generation looks forward a few years, it is nice to know that humor, love, and passion are still ahead on the horizon.  And how will we dress on our senior citizen tours?  Cutoff jeans and sandals?  I think I’ll wear suspenders and a belt . . . and hope that I have a partner like Maggie who makes them necessary.

photo by bravenewtraveler