Much like cold is the absence of heat and darkness is the absence of light, I tend to believe evil is the absence of good. That is, I believed that until I found myself regularly travelling through the intersection of Sullivan Road and Highland Avenue in Aurora, Illinois, this summer.
Now, I’m convinced that some things actually are inherently evil.
(On a side note and for the record, my wife’s hands and feet are the only things in the Universe that actually do emit cold.)
Yes! Just like those debunked crop circles, these demon spawn devices seem to spring up overnight, and, like that friend who said he’d crash on your couch for just a couple of nights, once entrenched, it’s virtually impossible to remove them.
Thankfully, I’m only aware of three of ‘em in the area. There’s a smaller variety somewhere near Howard Street in St. Charles which isn’t much of a problem because I’ve never seen two vehicles enter it at the same time.
There’s a brand new one at Route 47 and Burlington Road, and though it’s still a crime against humanity, it was correctly constructed by the KDOT (Kane County Division of Transportation) so as to make movement through it much more obvious. But then there’s the iteration at Highland and Sullivan which I’m convinced is a gateway to another satanic dimension.
All three should be ringed by a series of signs reading, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here,” and if Europe is any indication, they’ll start spreading here like Chicago alley rats during a three-week garbage strike.
Of course, we’re talking about those nefarious traffic flow impediments known as “roundabouts.” Aside from comprising the nine circles of hell Dante described in his ‘Divine Comedy,’ their purported purpose is to provide a continuous traffic flow, but that’s just about as oxymoronic as “act naturally,” “temporary tax increase,” and “free love.”
With a summer consisting of both a broken foot and fallen arches, I’ve found myself heading to the Advocate Dreyer facility on Highland more often than usual. And as soon as I turn left onto Sullivan from Randall Road, I start trembling uncontrollably, break out into a cold sweat, and start prayin’ like a wounded soldier in a foxhole.
All I can say is, Odysseus wasn’t nearly as nervous at the thought of facing Scylla and Charybdis on his journey back.
And if an older driver happens to be at the head of your roundabout “entrance,” trust me, time will start to move even more slowly than it does at the event horizon of a supermassive black hole. When Chris Rock said there’s nothing sadder than watching and old black woman try to use a credit card, he was wrong. Watching an old white woman trying to navigate a roundabout is far more tragic.
Part of the Highland/Sullivan problem is, even though it’s only a three-way contraption, it’s far too small, and a slew of left-turning westbound drivers completely compound the general confusion. Because the average American isn’t nearly accustomed to these perverse purported perpetual motion mechanisms, nobody quite knows what to do so they have a tendency to do nothing.
Cue that Ennio Morricone score and it would be a lot like the three-way standoff between Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef in ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.’
You don’t dare honk your horn, either, because that might solicit those already daunted drivers into creating the kind of epic traffic tie up that would make the rush-hour Dan Ryan look like child’s play and require 27 police officers and ten tow trucks to untangle it.
So, you pray, you wait, you gird your loins, close your eyes, stomp on the accelerator and hope for the best.
I understand that former three-way stop could get rather backed up in all directions, but when you consider that Rush Copley, the Kane County Health Department, and Advocate Dreyer are all right on top of each other, that intersection screams for a traffic light and Sullivan should’ve been expanded to four lanes years ago.
A traffic light would’ve cost less than half of what the roundabout did ($525,000), too.
My first thought was to purchase a late model army surplus armored car, but it turns out they get terrible gas mileage and the police tend to frown on drivers blowing up other vehicles just because they don’t know how to turn left.
So, here’s what I’m gonna do! In the vein of MADD, AAA, and the NHTSA, I’m creating “SCARED!” or The Society to Combat Accursed Roundabouts Everywhere, Dammit! It has a really nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
We may require the services of a priest, a rabbi and a minister, which we should be able to find in any bar, but I promise you that SCARED members will not rest until we’ve exorcised these cruel contrivances from the American landscape, once and for all.
Well, either that or we’ll just take a different route.