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No One Wants To Talk About The Terror Of Turning Left On A Flashing Yellow Light

Please, anybody, tell me I’m not alone.

Images by author and from movie Intelligent Students (fair use)

Whenever I see that dreaded ‘Left Turn Yield On Flashing Yellow’ sign, I mutter, “fuck me” under my breath. It’s the worst, and no one dares mention the terror of it. I inch forward, wondering to myself if I really need to make this left turn. The oncoming cars whir past, and I see a small break between them.

Should I go? Should I go? Should I go?

No, it was too close.

A longer break between cars is coming up. Now is my chance.

Motherfuck no. Someone is speeding up, closing the gap.

Never mind.

A bead of sweat drips into my eye. This is what it feels like to be in a Fast and Furious movie. What would Vin Diesel do? He’d be like, “Family’s family” and then flip his car and explode it into space. Then he’d slow-motion roll onto the pavement, and Han (somehow alive?) will be standing there on the sidewalk eating wasabi peanuts.

But I'm not Vin Diesel, and this is my worst nightmare—a car has pulled up behind me. The stakes are even higher now. The pressure to not inconvenience the driver waiting for me.

I could merge into the right lane, go straight for another block, turn right, turn right, turn right, and go straight into this turn from that direction. That’d be a really puss move.

I ease forward a bit. See, the thing is, maybe the light for the oncoming cars has turned yellow, and maybe some of them are preparing to stop. But maybe some of them are preparing to speed up to make the light. How can I be certain I won’t be t-boned at this intersection? But there’s a car behind me, probably cursing my existence, probably yelling, “FUCKING GO!” at the part of my head that is visible.

I panic and step on the gas. I TURN. An approaching car honks at me. I hear the fury in that honk. It’s the same as any honk, but I feel their searing anger. They almost crashed into me.

But hey! I made it. I faced my fear. I’m such a good driver. I think I’m getting the hang of this ‘left turn yield on flashing yellow’ thing. The car behind me didn't make the light, because I was hesitating for so long. Hope he's not mad at me. I can't believe I was so stressed out over this flashing yellow arrow.

Oh god. Are you kidding me— another LEFT TURN YIELD SIGN. Seriously, fuck me.


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