Recently I wrote about four city employees standing right under the stop signs at a 4-way stop, each one holding stop signs. Today I was at the same intersection and the same four city employees were there. The thought crossed my mind: “I wonder how much money we, the taxpayers, are paying these people to be human stop signs when we, the taxpayers, have already paid for the four stop signs they are standing directly under?”
My curiosity led me to pull over to pose the question, “What the heck?” (or WTF for you younger readers). I pulled beside a person in an orange vest who turned out to be a woman. “Why are you guys holding stop signs when there are already stop signs here?” I asked.
“There’s a detour,” she explained, and then went on to tell me the entire detour route. As she was doing this, the man holding the stop sign to the right of us yelled, “CINDY!” I presumed he was her boss and he was alerting her to approaching traffic so she could have her sign at the ready. He must have felt that the few seconds it took me to ask the question and her to start answering was distracting her from her duties, which he apparently felt required her undivided attention.
The first time he yelled, she looked over at him to acknowledge that she’d heard and was heeding his control-freaking. When I didn’t immediately scurry away, he quickly called, “CINDY” again.
“Actually,” I said, “I’m writing a humor blog and thought it was funny to see you guys standing out here under the stop signs. Is this really necessary, even with the detour?”
“We have to keep traffic moving off Multnomah Blvd. as they come around the corner to this part of the detour, and since this is such a short stretch of road right here, it could get backed up.”
We both looked at him. He turned away from us watched as one car approached him. He held his sign with the “Slow” side facing the driver. This meant that Cindy had to keep her “Stop” sign facing her cars. They were stacking up all the way around the corner of Multnomah Blvd., the very thing these four people were trying, at all costs, to avoid.
Cindy and I both watched him waiting for the car, which was approaching slowly and with extreme caution, no doubt confused that his sign said, “Slow” but the sign right over his head said, “Stop.” I knew the feeling. You really don’t know which one to believe. Finally the car got up to him and went through. Meantime about 20 cars had stacked up on Cindy’s side, blocking traffic on Multnomah Blvd.
Finally Mr. “Hey Everybody I’m In Charge Here And Don’t You Forget It!” signaled to Cindy that she could let her cars pass. The existing stop signs could have handled the traffic way more efficiently than what I just witnessed.
You know those signs at highway construction sites that say, “Your tax dollars at work?” I think that my tax dollars hired some folks that aren’t giving me my money’s worth.