You learn more from your mistakes than your successes.
So here I am to try, and to fail, so I can learn.
Paul Fail. For The Win!

20 April 2012

#FridayFlash: Schroedinger's Traffic Light

Schroedinger's Traffic Light
©2012 D. Paul Angel
561 Words

"Is there a problem Officer?"

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"

"Why no, I'm afraid I do not.  Was I speeding?"

"No Ma'am, you were not speeding, but you did just run a red light."

"Oh, but I couldn't have."

"Excuse me Ma'am, but I was on the cross street.  Our light turned green before you even entered the intersection."

"Ah, that makes me feel better then.  So you did not see that it was red either."

"I don't need to Ma'am. Since my light was green I know yours was red."

"Actually, Officer, you do not know it was red, but you are inferring it was red."

"You are certainly free to make that argument to the Judge, but I'm still issuing you a citation."

"Well it should be an easy argument then since neither of can say for sure whether or not the light was red."

"I've been writing tickets for nine years Ma'am. I've never yet seen someone get off on a ticket by claiming they didn't notice the light was red."

"Oh but I could not have noticed. My eyes were closed."

"Excuse me Ma'am, did you say your eyes were closed?"

"Well of course."

"Ma'am I cannot even begin to tell you how unsafe that is."

"Oh not at all, Officer! I do it all the time."

"You what? Ma'am- I don't even know where to begin!"

"Really? Why? Is there a statute against closing one's eyes whilst driving?"

"No... Not specifically, no.  But there is a statute against reckless driving."

"Young man I assure you  that closing my eyes was not reckless. It was quite intentional."

"Ma'am, being intentionally reckless just makes it worse.  I'm going to have to write you up for that, too."

"Oh dear. It is not like I do it all the time officer, just at intersections."

"But Ma'am, that's- that's the very worst time you could do it."

"Oh no Officer, not at all.  But it is why I cannot be guilty of a red light violation."


"See with my eyes closed the light existed in all three states simultaneously.  Red, Yellow, and Green.  Since I did not open my eyes until after I passed  through, the light's state was never resolved."

"Ma'am, whether you choose to look or not, the light still changes.  And the Judge, I know him Ma'am, he's not going to care about your reasons."  

"Oh but he has to. I cannot have run a Red light that didn't exist, now then could I? That would just be silly."

"Ma'am, please-"

"And, frankly, since you could not see it either, the light's waveform was just as amorphous in your reality as it was in mine.  Oh you will testify  for me, won't you Officer?"

"Ma'am. Again. My light was green."

"Oh I'm not disputing that the yellow and red waveforms collapsed for your light. Of course not, dear!  It just has no more affect on my light at a quantum  level than whether it was raining or sunny out.  Don't you see?"

"Frankly, no.  But here's your ticket so you can try your luck with the Judge."

"But... Officer!" 

"And you can open your eyes Ma'am.  My signature on the ticket instantly collapsed the reality in which you didn't get it."


  1. Oh this is just brilliant, I laughed like a drain reading it. Thanks for the chuckles Paul.

    1. Thanks Steve! I'm glad you enjoyed it :-) I also think, "laugh liked a drain," is a fantastic phrase and will likely steal it.

    2. Hi again Paul, I don't know where I first heard the saying, but it's one that I liked and so tend to use it sometimes. I decided to google the origin and found it here...

    3. Interesting. I think what I like about it is that it instantly conveys the meaning, but then wonder exactly how it conveyed it. So... Perfect!

  2. If she ran over someone but didn't look, would they be dead or alive?

    1. I think that would depend on whether or not the witnesses had their eyes closed too or not :-)

      Thanks for reading it and commenting!

  3. "Well I would it should be an easy argument then if neither of can say for sure whether or not the light was red." Missing words??? Other than that, this was awesome.

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it :-) I also fixed that typo and realized I'd spelled "Traffic" as "Traffice" in the title so I fixed that too.

  4. She obviously doesn't understand that this argument is valid only when the traffic light is a cat....

    1. Somewhere in there is a flash piece titled, "Schroedinger's Day at the Animal Pound," I know it! And I do wonder how much Physics the Judge knows...

      THanks for coming by and commenting!

    2. This is a test comment

  5. Haha, that's a good close to her nonsense. Played on her terms and won!

  6. I liked this a lot. The part I liked the most was at the end, when the officer shows he too stayed awake during physics class.


Thank you for taking the time to comment, I greatly appreciate it. Kind words are always nice, but please do not hesitate to give me criticism as well. I want to learn and write better, and your critiques are a huge help in that. Thanks!