traffic circle

Rachael and Deborah had orthodontist appointments this morning. I chose a sunny window to sit and think profound thoughts. The profound thoughts eluded me, but I enjoyed a reminder of the past.

From the forth floor window, I looked down at the traffic circle below. I'd never looked down on the dreaded traffic circle.

Before moving here, I'd never encountered a traffic circle. I have friends who will drive blocks out of their way to avoid a round-a-bout. I joke that when I'm driving through a traffic circle, I close my eyes, accelerate, and hope for the best.

This morning as I looked down on the traffic circle, I remembered one of my earliest traffic circle experiences. I was taking my foster daughter, Angel, to the dentist; a dentist in this same complex.

I approached the traffic circle with significant trepidation. Gordon had prepped me on traffic circle protocol; the inside lane always has the right of way. This detail still baffles me. Obeying directions, I chose the inside lane. I kept driving around the traffic circle like it was an automobile merry-go-round. The third time past her dentist's office, 8-year-old Angel astutely asked, "What are you doing?"

I answered, "I'm trying to figure out how to get out of this traffic circle alive."

Traffic circle Notice how the yellow lane can pull in front of the red lane. This is the part that gets me.

The idea behind a traffic circle, is to keep traffic flowing. There are no stop signs or traffic lights. Four or five roads intersect and everyone keeps going. The outside lane yields to the inside lane.
People say it makes perfect sense and stuff like that. I guess maybe there is some merit to that, but I've seen many "near misses."


Scan20103 (1999, Hannah, Deborah and Rachael)
Rachael and Hannah are thirteen months apart and thick as thieves. Best friends they are. Deborah, four years younger, is the bothersome sister. She wants to be in their exclusive club and they are, at least today, adamantly opposed to her inclusion.

Last summer taught me in no uncertain terms that the girls have outgrown our backyard. It served as THE backyard in the neighborhood for seven years. Our tree house is a "tree house par excel-lance." It's pretty amazing; three stories it has, all made by Gordon.

I miss the summer days of yesteryear. The girls were out on the swing set before breakfast and we'd have to call them in for evening baths.
Rachael has outgrown many of her eccentric ways, but from 3-6 years old, she was nothing less than eccentric. She always wanted a ball cap on, a particular ball cap, and she always wore a t-shirt under her shirt. In 90 degree weather, I'd plead with her, "You'd be much cooler if you'd take off one of those shirts." She'd counter with, "I don't like the feel of that."

She'd hit the back door every morning and run across the yard screaming "AAAAWWWW" all the way to the swings. It was like she hadn't seen a swing for years, a brand new treat every morning.

The neighbor children that frequented our yard brought an element of worldliness to my children's sheltered lives. Amera from next door, danced like an exotic dancer at five years old. Her heroes were Brittany Spears and the Spice Girls. I watched as she lined the girls up to play like they were the Spice Girls. Amera was Posh Spice and Rachael was assigned the role of Scary Spice. Amera gave the orders like a drill sergeant and Rachael and Hannah listened like obedient subordinates. Exasperated, Amera barked, "Rachael, you're supposed to be Scary!" Suddenly Rachael understood. She crouched slightly, put on the most intimidating face she could conjure, extended her arms and fingers like talons, and let out a vicious growl. She knew how to be scary, just not Scary Spice. Amera threw down her feathered mane and yelled, "You're no fun, I'm going home."

Amera has outgrown my girls and I'm not crying the blues over that. She's into music, make-up, and looking at teen magazines. My girls are keen on activity. They crave constant movement and activity. They have outgrown the backyard fun (at least they don't play in the backyard all day, everyday). Now they want to go places. Summers are not as easy as they use to be and that has me thinking thoughts of yesteryear.