The pedestrian crossing equipment said to, when I pressed the button at Routes 1 and 27 in Wiscasset Monday. The voice was a surprise. I had been on the world’s second longest escalator, flown over Miami in the gondola of a Goodyear blimp and over Naval Air Station Brunswick in a C-130 cargo plane with the door open, but not one of those talked to me. I don't travel anymore and a talking traffic aid was new to me.
I waited. And I waited, to hear more directions, like go, or walk now. Time passed. I heard no more.
I looked across the street at a sign showing a raised hand. I knew that meant stop. At first, I alternated looking there and back at the machine next to me that had spoken to me. Then I noticed numbers across the street were counting down. Based on that, and the lack of the voice saying anything else, I began to put the pieces together: The rest of the journey, after I followed the direction to wait, was between me and those silent signs across the street. I studied them, not wanting to get flattened because I was still covering an accident and did not yet have all the information I needed, which was why I was crossing the street.
Then I saw it, the figure of a walker. Traffic was stopped at the lights. And I just knew, this was my time. Almost without hesitation, I went. And on the trip back across Route 1 after the interviews, I was probably noticeably more confident. I now know how to do something others may have known for years, but, in my defense, my mother didn't let me cross the street by myself until college.
I’ve liked the lights at that intersection as a motorist turning left onto Route 1. Now I can like the pedestrian equipment, too, although if it’s going to say wait, it would also be nice to hear go.