It has been my observation that there is a new trend sweeping the nation. No, it’s not a new kind of music complete with a fashion statement: mini skirts, bell-bottoms, Mohawks, or droopy pants. I’m waiting for the music genre that requires its fans to wear their underwear on the outside of their clothes. You know it’s coming. What else is left?
No, the trend I am referring to is traffic circles. They are popping up everywhere. Where there once was a signal or a 4-way stop, now there is a traffic circle, or a Decision Loop, as my husband and I appropriately call them.
Decision Loops have been employed in abundance all over Europe, but just like your bathtub drains in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere, Decision Loops go in the opposite direction in the Eastern Hemisphere. Don’t ask me why. It’s probably a matter of gravitational pull or the Theory of Relativity or something.
We call them Decision Loops because they give the mentally frail a little time to figure out where they were supposed to be going. Green lights tend to trigger brain malfunctions in a certain percentage of people, myself included.
This phenomenon requires me to wait a second or two after the light changes so the haze will clear and my destination will become clear again.
Unfortunately, that second or two is way too long for the person behind me, and he will start tooting his horn, which makes my thoughts scatter again. This is why three-point turns were invented.
Decision Loops make it possible for me to keep moving while my brain train gets back on track and determines my intentions for being there.
I can enter the loop thinking, "Now where am I going?" I will do an entire lap before it comes to me, "Oh yeah, I needed a watering can. Now where am I going to get one of those?"
I make another lap as the options slowly come to me. "I could go to Walmart, but I’d have to park a Â½ mile from the doors. Wait, wasn’t there a coupon for one somewhere?"
One more time around the Decision Loop before I realize, "Wait a minute, I bought the watering can yesterday! What I really need is laundry detergent… and that’s at the grocery store!"
In triumph, I finally take the correct exit off the Decision Loop and head in the direction of the grocery store.
Taking out of the equation the fact that such a deranged person shouldn’t be given a license, Decision Loops are, in general, a useful tool to keep traffic moving while brain malfunctions recover.
Of course, there are a select few who think it’s wise to make their recovery while stopped dead inside the circle. No amount of waving and dirty looks will spur them into making any hasty decisions. Perhaps he’s embarrassed about making a few laps until his destination pops into his mind, but really, the only people who would know are the other brain malfunctioning people doing laps and clearly, those people can hardly blame him.
The only time decision lapping might become a problem is if the Decision Loop is too small to accommodate the required number of lappers. This is rare, however, I’m convinced it does happen from time to time.
In fact, in many areas of Europe, the Decision Loops are merely a white dot the size of a large pizza painted in the middle of an intersection. My minivan couldn’t do laps around a pizza, that’s why Europeans drive small cars.
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author and speaker. You can reach Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit her website www.lauraon life.com for more info.