A strange thing happened yesterday. Strange to the core. The ‘I cannot believe it’ strange.
I was driving to some place and cursed my luck for having to stop at one of the busiest squares on my route. A signal turned green and cars from my left zoomed past to my right. Or so I thought. I sighed. I looked at the signal right in front of me. It was out of order, but the other signals must be fine, I thought. That’s why such an orderly transition.
I refused to give it more thought and sank back into my chair as I saw the next lane cars move. After a while, I got impatient. This was taking too long. I looked around at the next signal. It was out of order as well. Fantastic, I thought. This meant that a policeman was controlling the traffic. I craned my neck to see a policeman somewhere but couldn’t. To my surprise, the next lane cars started moving. I wondered who was controlling the traffic.
And then I looked closely. All the traffic signals at the junction were out of order. There was no policeman. But no body realized that there was no one to contro the traffic. To my utter surprise, the traffic was following the same pattern as it would when the signals were on! Hah! This was something absolutely new to me. People BEHAVING themselves. I could not believe it.
As my lane cleared and I revved up the engine, I realised. They all thought their signal was out of order but they did not know that the other signals were out of order too. Had they looked? I don’t know. It was a unique situation. I could draw an instant parallel.
Why do we behave ourself? We do that because our red lights are always on. And sometimes when they’re off, we behave because we know other people have their lights on. And sometimes we realize, there are no red lights. That’s when we have chaos.