Saturday, Feb. 4. 8:17 a.m.
Leaving 10 minutes late to get the youngest member of the family to an indoor soccer match.
Road surfaces are dry, traffic is light.
The details are worth noting, as this was the situation when the unthinkable occurred: We made the drive up Cedar Road to the I-271 (South) on-ramp near Brainard without making a single stop.
That’s right: Green lights all the way from Coventry, through Lee, Taylor, Washington, Warrensville, Green, Richmond, past Beachwood Place. There was a close call at the last light before the highway on-ramp; I had to make a fast lane switch because the driver ahead was texting – and thus failed to start moving as the light turned green and I came up from behind. But I was able to keep the car moving faster than a technicality. I’ve got witnesses.
I’ve been driving this route in both directions pretty consistently since I turned 16 (in the late ’70s); I’ve driven it in all weather conditions at all times of day – even 3 a.m. when most of the lights are blinking – and still hadn’t done it in one stop-free shot. I suspect it’s something nobody has accomplished since at least 1914, when automated traffic signals started being installed in and around Cleveland.
The trip is almost exactly 5 miles, and back then it would have mostly been through countryside. And it probably took far longer than the 8 1/2 minutes (average speed 35.2 mph) it took me.
Nobody else in the car seemed to appreciate the singularity of the moment as we merged into traffic on I-271. My wife had been rolling her eyes since Belvoir Boulevard, when I first noted the incredible luck we were having. My son, who was plugged into his iPod pretending he couldn’t hear me, was rolling his eyes too – though that’s pretty much been the steady state ever since he turned 14.
But such a moment deserves to be recorded, if only on this blog. Let it be a sign of hope for all of us that a late start can still turn into an early arrival – even if only once a century.