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Friday, February 8, 2013

The anatomy of the traffic jam

A baaaad traffic jam
That's you in the blue Dodge (or whatever), stuck in a traffic jam (well, maybe not this traffic)... and after seemingly endless stop-and-go at three miles-per-hour, you suddenly break free... then you ask yourself, "What in the hell was that all about?" No wrecks, no lane closures, nothing to indicate why. Now don't you feel sheepish for being so wrong?

Well, thank John O. Nestor for that. Nestor is the ONE PERSON responsible for one traffic jam a day on the Washington D.C beltline.

A worse traffic jam
Around the same time every day, Nestor would be driving to work in the left hand lane... with his cruise control set at 55 mph, the posted speed limit... no more, no less. This effectively closed down that lane to speeders, forcing every driver behind him to merge right. Bingo! Like dominos falling, you have a traffic jam.

He explained that he loved the left lane... less traffic, less merging--for him, anyhow. "Why should I inconvenience myself for someone who wants to speed?"

In the D.C. area, he achieved immortality (and infamy) by defining a new verb: "Nestoring"... the absolute adherence to the rules, regardless of the larger consequences. And that's a true story.

Another perfect example of the power of one!

Now take a look a classic traffic jam that sounds like a lead-in to a joke: A Catholic priest, a biker and a civil protection volunteer walk into an alley and…

Watch this guy in Naples try to make a U-turn on a narrow street in his tiny Fiat 500. A motorcycle gang, a cross-bearing religious procession and a bunch of civil protection volunteers get stuck in the jam, all joining the locals from the surrounding streets and balconies, everyone talking at once, hands waving, helping... or not. Now this is what you call, an Italian traffic jam . (For fun, see if you can find the prosciutto strapped on the back of one of the Harleys.)

As they say in Italy, "Momma mia, thats'a spicey traffic jamba!" (Oh, come on... I'm an Italian so I can say that.)

1 comment:

  1. a fascinating tale; I would love to have a verb named after me :)

    and thanks btw for commenting on my short story

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