I do lots of dumb thinking when I don't have to drive.

Like a lot of my fellow Gen X crew, I have an appreciation for the old "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey" bit from SNL back in the day. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if that dude (if he was real) was just sitting around daydreaming and coming up with all those ridiculous ideas. But honestly, I'm completely susceptible to the same kind of daydreamy dumbness.

Sad woman looking through a car window
AntonioGuillem
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A lot of the time if my wife and I are riding in the car together, she drives because she's generally terrified of the way I drive a car. So it gives me time I wouldn't normally have to observe the world around me, and I begin to wonder about the most silly of things. The other day, I got particularly fixated on traffic lights.

Have you ever really given traffic lights a second thought?

I can't say I ever had, until the other day. How do they coordinate them? Where are they made? Do they ever really work in a way that doesn't make people mad? Who takes care of them? That last one I thought I could actually answer in my mind. Obviously, it's gotta be the DOT that handles them.

Closeup of a traffic light by night in Israel. Red light.
N Rotteveel
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That led to more silly questions in my mind about the number of traffic light repair people, and finally I wondered... How may traffic lights are there in Maine? When I looked at the Maine DOT page on the state's website, it said this:

...1072 lights, 600 control points, 155 lighting towers, 518 fixtures, 104 beacons, 33 signals and 53 dynamic signs statewide.

This represents the lights they work on, as well as ones maintained by individual municipalities. I really would've assumed it was a higher number, and maybe it is. I definitely had trouble finding out individual numbers by town. But either way, that seems to be the magic number. Please, feel free to take that super useful tidbit and blow all the minds of the guests at your NYE party. Or, go back to not caring.

I think gas prices when I was born were probably about the same as now, thanks to the gas crisis of the 70's. What about you?

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Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

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