Just the Other Day: New Year’s Resolutions

I was clueless; not having any idea what to write about this week. With a new year upon us, I suppose I should write something about resolutions. New Year’s resolutions: those commitments we make to change our habits for the better. Solid commitments that usually last a few days, if they get past a few hours. Granted, for some people they work – just not so much for me. The best resolution I ever made was to stop making resolutions, but that failed too when I made more resolutions the next year. I’m far better off picking a random day to start a new habit, or get rid of a bad one.


What to write, what to write… I drove around Winona, with my mind bouncing between the work I was doing, and coming up with a subject on which to write.


While driving to the hardware store, I watched two cars ahead of me enter the same intersection at the same time, from different direction; one headed north, the other westbound.  Horns were blasted, fist shaken and fingers were extended to let the other person know, clearly they were to blame.


Winona has taken down many stop signs in residential neighborhoods. I notice this trend happening all over the country, making the “uncontrolled intersection” the fastest growing change in traffic patterns followed closely by the installations of the roundabout, but that’s a different story.


In an uncontrolled intersection, who has the right of way? Obviously, a car traveling straight would have the right of way over a car turning, but in this case, they were both going straight, on cross streets.  I’ve wondered who was the creator of this brain fart? It seems like an accident waiting to happen; impending danger and possible injury. What could be the benefit of this non-sense other than the city saving on the cost of signage.


As I thought more about it, traffic flows more smoothly without a stop at every corner. The neighborhoods look better with less red octagons mounted seven feet in the air, with tall grass and weeds growing at the base of the post holding the sign. I’ve read articles where statistics show the accident rates are no higher without the signs. Apparently, some folks weren’t obeying the signs anyway. In some cases, they said the number of accidents were actually reduced. Without stop signs people had to drive more cautiously and take personal responsibility for their actions. They had to cooperate with one another to make things happen smoothly.


Let’s review those last two lines. Personal responsibility and cooperation. Wow! Who would have thunk it? In a day and age where we all seem to be looking for someone to blame, and have an attorney readily at hand to establish the value of the wrong done to us, who could imagine a move that would have citizens assume more personal responsibility? And cooperation? Think about the way… Nevermind. I promised the editors of these fine publications that I would stay away from politics, but you know where I could go with that.


Although in the situation I cited, the two drivers were a little rough on the cooperation aspect. They did exchange some rather harsh gestures, but they both made it through the same intersection safely. In the end, progress was made.


Maybe that’s what people need to do. Or, should I say, maybe that’s what I need to do: take more personal responsibility and improve my cooperative skills. I think I’ll do just that. I’ll make it my New Year’s resolution. Oh, why bother…. I do better with random dates. Maybe I’ll start working on that next Tuesday.


Tom can be reached for comment at http://Facebook.com/tompalen.98