COLUMN: More than a traffic light

As I See It


BP Photo courtesy of Jose Polanco

SIXTEEN: Eva Suissa practiced driving in Culver City last week.

By Eva Suissa, Opinion Editor

This past November I started driving, and I love it.

Driving down Pico Boulevard on my way to school makes me feel independent, like an adult. But it also, surprisingly, makes me feel part of a community, because everyone follows the same rules on the road.

I find following the rules to be exhilarating. I actually get a rush sitting in traffic, or slowing down when driving over a speed bump, or thanking the man in the car behind me for letting me merge into his lane.

Before I started driving, I took for granted the fact that everybody abides by these rules. At red lights, cars stop. At green lights, they go. When a sign says no right turns, no one turns right. There may be the occasional rule breaker, but for the most part, drivers respect the law.

This may seem insignificant, but it’s actually a big deal. Fortunately, we live in a country where everyone agrees to observe the law. That’s an accomplishment for a society. It is amazing that we stop at red lights, and it is amazing that we go at green ones.

There’s something liberating about living in a society of laws. It gives me a sense of protection and freedom to focus on the things that I love. I am able to dance, write, draw, live without the fear that someone will purposefully crash into my car or that the government will hunt me down for publishing an anti-Trump piece in the Boiling Point. Although the law removes action-movie-like drama, it allows me to live a relatively stable life without any major distractions. That’s something to be grateful for.

I am proud to be apart of this community of rule-followers.

Come to think of it, it seems that as I get older, I’m pulled into more and more circles — the newest of them being this community of drivers. I was born into my immediate family circle, but at age four, I was introduced to the Maimonides Academy circle. Then, when I enrolled at Shalhevet, I became apart of the Just Community. Maybe I like driving so much because it welcomes me into a new circle of humanity.

This new circle is a sign of adulthood. Being a driver, I feel as if I’m starting to participate in the larger circle of America’s democracy. I’m beginning to appreciate the laws that this country has in place, because they protect our liberties and bring our nation together. The laws of the road gracefully weave democracy onto every street in America. Every stop sign, every green light, every speed bump represents an agreement by the people to abide by the rules.

Since starting to drive in November, I feel as if I’ve been welcomed into a new community — America. I too have a responsibility to follow the law. And let me tell you, stopping at a red light has never been so exciting.