Dr Lester Simon Chronicles: “You Have the Right to Curse my Backside”


You Have the Right to Curse my Backside 



One Sunday morning, a few years ago, I was driving on High Street. 



At the corner of High Street and Corn Alley I stopped. I stopped because I usually try to stop at all intersections even if I have the right of way. Also, this was a blind corner and some drivers could be blind from time to time so that we could not see eye to eye. 



Suddenly, a vehicle zoomed across the intersection from Corn Alley without stopping. It could have crashed into me if I hadn’t stopped. 




Trying to be a good citizen, I shouted out to the driver and asked him if he didn’t see the stop sign on the corner on the Corn Alley side of the intersection telling him to stop. 



The man put on a royal, sermonic cursing on me. Talk about communion. Even my vehicle was shocked and couldn’t move. I wanted to curse back his backside and tell him about his entire extended family, alive and dead and dying. But I remembered it was a Sunday morning and that my deceased maternal grandmother might have been listening… and might have been the one who reminded me to stop. 



 That was years ago. This afternoon, years after that encounter, I was driving down the same High Street and stopped at the same junction with Corn Alley. This time, not one but three vehicles zoomed across the intersection without stopping. 



 This time it wasn’t a Sunday and this time I wanted to do the cursing, so I shouted out to all three of the drivers, with some colorful, native words, that they should observe the equally colorful, native traffic sign. Talk about a cavalcade of colour. 



 One of the drivers pointed back to the traffic sign that he saw driving on Corn Alley.My grandmother must have been dusting off and getting ready to come out at night to watch over me. I looked at the sign at the corner. Lord! 




All drivers should know that a stop sign is octagonal. Even if you cannot see the front of a stop sign, the octagonal shape tells you it’s a stop sign. All of this traffic geometry is what I wanted to explain to the driver years ago and was about to explain again this evening, three times over. 




When I looked at the sign, it was no longer octagonal. It was round! Round, round, round. 




Seeing the circular sign I decided to make a circle and to go on to Corn Alley ( a one-way street, like High Street) to see what this sign was. Lo and behold, the sign had a blue background with a white arrow in the middle pointing forward! That’s odd. A blue traffic sign with no red border is a sign of positive instructions. In such a case, it is telling the Corn Alley driver to drive on and ignore idiots like me on High Street. 



Not being proud to call myself an idiot and feeling so ashamed for not knowing that the sign had changed, I made another circle and went back on High Street. This time I was looking for the sign on High Street to tell me to stop at the corner with Corn Alley since now anyone can zoom out of the alley from Corn Alley into the intersection and ignore the idiots on High Street. There was no such sign for the High Street drivers. None. 



Who made the change? Was it the driver from years ago coming back in some other persona? Was it a crazed UPP supporter who changed the red and white stop sign to the blue and white proceed sign? Were the authorities going to put up the stop sign for the High Street drivers and stopped for some unknown reason? 



I am reminded that in England the corn exchange was a meeting place where merchants traded grains. Maybe the junction of High Street and Corn Alley in Antigua is a meeting place to trade bad words. 



Please drive carefully. Your deceased grandmother might be fast asleep, waiting on you. 

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  1. I was wondering what the hell you was talking about that traffic on Corn Alley have to stop.

    I have been driving for almost 30 years and I never knew that Corn Alley did not have the right-of-way.

    I can remember that there was a time that one could drive down South Street but had to turn left when one reaches Corn Alley.

    Maybe Corn Alley did not have the right-of-way yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrssssssssssss ago but certainly not in my lifetime (lol).

  2. The Good Doctor…the idea of stopping at all intersections is so correct whether you have the right of way or not….what I have learned driving in the United States that the right of way in not taken…it’s given. I’m sure you know what that means…but they used to be a stop sign coming down high street .

  3. Writer of this article, Corn Alley has always been a one way street for decades now. Once you approach the junction of High Street and Corn Alley whilst driving on High Street, there is a white line running across the road which indicates that you must stop and allow the traffic on corn Alley to proceed because they have the right of way. The line might be a bit faded but it is there. Please observe!!!!

  4. The only sin is an abuse of power. The more innocent the victim the more egregious the sin. We seem to remember this even more as we are getting up in age and begin to reflect on the ruthless past once lived. Nothing will go unpunished.

  5. One would think,there are no Stop Signs in St.Johns. You would drive at your own risks.Where are the Police when you really needed them to correct that wrong by giving tickets.

  6. With all due respect to the learned Doctor, traffic flowing along Corn Alley has always had the right of way with respect to traffic flowing perpendicular to it, and this rule has always held true since traffic flow along Corn Alley is not governed by stop lights, as opposed to that of Market Street for example.
    However, as the expression goes, so we live is so we learn; no one is all-knowing, only The Almighty alone is. Salaam

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