COMPLAINING: How I plan to spend my time in retirement

Everyone says you have to have a plan. You can’t just retire and goof off. So here’s my plan – I intend to complain. Not bitch and moan, not be a pain in the neck. I hope to complain constructively and politely. At least most of the time…

I pulled off a good, positive complaint recently.

Backstory: A woman died in a car accident in December of 2014. This is still a small enough town for me to take note of such a death. I read a news report and thought about where it happened. It was at an intersection I drive through several times each week. Evidently the driver ran a stop sign.

I started thinking about that intersection, and I realized the relevant stop sign wasn’t easy to see. In fact, ANOTHER stop sign, one short block BEYOND the intersection, came into my field of vision first. Maybe the unfortunate driver saw the second stop sign, got distracted, and missed the first one?

Several things contributed to this visibility problem. The important stop sign was fairly far off the road, to the right. Some tree branches obscured it. And, oddly, a black-on-yellow sign designed (graphically) to let you know you were driving parallel to a railroad, obscured the stop sign temporarily, at least for me, driving in a Honda Civic.

The more trips I made, the more I disliked the intersection and speculated about how it contributed to the fatal accident.

I decided to COMPLAIN. After a few phone calls, I pinpointed the office most likely to help. I wanted to speak to a traffic engineer, but ended up leaving a rather detailed message.

No one got back to me. I started to plan some photography and a more aggressive complaint, but, lo! One day the problem was fixed! The stop sign was moved closer to the road. The tree was trimmed, and the black-on-yellow sign disappeared entirely! Now you can see the important stop sign consistently as you approach it.  I feel safer!

I don’t know if my input had anything to do with these changes, but I feel inspired to keep complaining. Bureaucrats, beware!

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