Red Light

Red light

The light was clearly red. I waited for my wife to slow down, but she did the opposite and accelerated towards the lights. What on earth is she doing? Roadworks had reduced two lanes to one. I clenched my fist. Every muscle in my body tensed, but I didn’t say a word. Rather suffer a head-on collision than pass comment on my wife’s driving. I closed my eyes as we passed the lights, travelling at some speed.

They say your life flashes in front of you, but for me it was just a men at work sign. They also say that everything happens in slow motion in your final moments, but there was nothing slow in the motion of the car I was in.

Seconds later it was all over. 

We were still moving, there had been no collision. We were back on the open road. I was alive.

Just as I was about to mouth a silent prayer of thanks to a God I don’t believe in, it happened again. This time it was much more serious; a large junction with big trucks travelling at speed on the cross road. I thought I was going to have a heart attack as we passed through the intersection. It was a miracle that we got through without being mown down by an articulated lorry.

Eventually, Ros stopped at a red light. Hallelujah. A wave of relief washed over me as we sat and waited for it to change. When it did something weird happened. It went from red to red to red. 

I’m part of that exclusive band of men who are red/green colour blind. The 8%. They put filters behind traffic lights just for us, so we can distinguish red from green. My first thought on seeing a sequence of three red lights was that someone was messing with colour blind men by removing the filters from traffic lights. But there are 33,000 traffic lights in the UK and so it would be quite some job to remove the filters from all of them.

A more plausible explanation began to dawn on me. Brain surgery must have changed my world to one where nothing is quite what it seems and where green is red. My wife hadn’t started driving like a lunatic after all.

But even though I now know this to be true, I still can’t stop myself flinching every time she speeds through a red light.