Reading library books. Eating food which has yet to be acquired, e.g. fresh food. Getting license plates for a car purchased privately before the DMV evaporated. Understanding one’s obligations (e.g. wear a mask? masks don’t help? save the masks for medical people?). Comprehending the conflicting low quality data about this pandemic.

Oh, there are many, many things that now is a very bad time to be doing. But here’s something that it is a great time for — sharing my rage at these fucking things.


I hate these evil buttons. I take them as a personal affront — a final fuck you after all the possible fuck yous have been used up by car drivers against what traffic engineers call "vulnerable road users".

Look at this thing. No, take a good look at it.


It is not even hooked up! I mean, it’s not even plausibly hooked up. Oh, maybe it uses radio signals or telepathy to deliver satisfaction to the poor peasant forced to be at this intersection without a car. Uh, ya, and the batteries are changed frequently which is why the face plate of the thing is mounted upside down.

Let’s not dwell on this particular shitty example of this generally shitty technology. There is a whole class of this kind of thing called a placebo button. Useless buttons can also be found on office thermostats (had one in my previous office) and apparently the London underground train doors. But the ones that do nothing to help pedestrians — and that’s all of these shitty crosswalk buttons — really piss me off the most.

First, this obnoxious insult to VRUs actually costs taxpayers money. But what really drives me crazy is that there is only one possible action these buttons could sensibly have — stop all murderous car traffic in the area immediately until the pedestrian is long gone. But this never happens.

I’m sickened by the idiotic idea that pedestrians need to "wait their turn" or some such shit. Pedestrians have opted (or been forced) to not spew (corona virus exacerbating) filth into the air. Not creating noise pollution. They are not causing fracking or tensions in the middle east. Pedestrians are extremely unlikely to inadvertently kill a fellow traveller — or worse, a puppy. And this is accomplished by them accepting that their travel will necessarily take quite a bit more time than if they were in a chariot of death. And this is not enough? Really? Must the pedestrian wait more for this arrangement to be fair? WTF!

On this particular shitty intersection, which I timed, if a pedestrian shows up and pushes the button and a car then shows up, the car will get priority because the car is sensed by induction loops. Ya, totally fair and reasonable.

One in San Diego that I found especially evil took up to 3 minutes. I once calculated that cars that were let through ahead of the pedestrians (who had pushed the button) could be miles away.


I know that normal car drivers will not have the capacity to ever even comprehend my argument against these vile buttons. But come on, even thick-headed car drivers should understand that buttons — that people must touch — which do nothing can not be a good idea when trying to keep transmissible diseases in check.

Yes, it’s a fine day to complain about this.