Lost time (No, you can’t get it back)

Did you know?

Get off your smartphones
and pay attention
to the traffic signal.
Be prepared for it to turn green
and stomp on the gas!
I don’t want to be honking my horn at you!

I was in La Jolla recently when I saw this sign:

Jean Lowe, Lost Time

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The flyer is dated January 3, 1850, so I didn’t know what to think. Nonetheless, what it said, I found funny, and somewhat true:


Either in the City of LOS ANGELES,
or thereabouts, a sum of Time, Con-
sisting principally of denominations
of Hours and Minutes – the whole
amounting to several Days. Whoever
may have found the same, and will
leave it, or give such information as
shall lead to its recovery, either to
the undersigned, Samuel Keller, Esq.,
or to the Messers. POST & WENT-
WORTH, Alameda Street; shall be
Liberally Rewarded.

January 3, 1850.     ARVIN M. DUNKLE


When I got home and looked at it more closely, I figured Jean Lowe was an author, her book, “Lost Time,” took place in January 1850, and the main character was Arvin Dunkle.

I went to Wikipedia first. No Jean Lowe. A Google search found her though.

She is an artist, quite an interesting one, too. I found a flyer from two years ago about an art exhibition at the McKenzie Fine Art gallery in New York City featuring her work, titled “Lost Time.” According to the flyer,

….Lowe has created humorous and subversive installations that question intellectual and cultural institutions and societal assumptions. …. Lowe slyly critiques the way society assigns value, and to what, through the creation of a faux auction house showroom. …. From fictional auction houses and websites such as “Roquefort’s,” “Heritage Holdovers,” and “PoliceAuctions.com,“ Lowe’s paintings illustrate items from sales which feature everything from fine watches, love letters, and important old master paintings, to manuscripts and ephemera.

Some of the lots featured in these sales are on display …. These include painted sculptures of an obsolete yellow pages phone book and a volume titled, “If God Loves Me, Why Do I Need a Vibrator?” Additionally, several of the items of faux ephemera are on view:  a 19th-century broadside offering a reward for lost minutes and hours.

In this exhibition, Lowe playfully transforms the banal into the magical and makes the rarified ridiculous by transforming commonplace items into desirable commodities, all in a satirical setting of high commerce.  Through her painted and sculptured recreations the artist humorously questions what is real, what is true, what has value, and why.

Did you catch the last sentence in the second paragraph? A-ha! Obviously her exhibit “Lost Time” made it to La Jolla sometime recently and that “broadside” was mass-produced to bring attention to it.

I love the arts.


While I was searching for information on Madame Jean Lowe, I discovered that there really is such a thing as lost time.

According to Wikipedia,

Lost time is a traffic engineering term for the time during which no vehicles are able to pass through an intersection despite the traffic signal displaying a green (go) signal. The total lost time is the sum of start-up lost time and clearance lost time. Start-up lost time happens when a traffic signal changes from red (stop) to green (go). Some amount of time elapses between the signal changing from red to green and the first queued vehicle moving through the intersection. There is then an additional amount of time for the next vehicle to begin moving and pass through the intersection, and so on. The total time taken for all waiting drivers to react and accelerate is the start-up lost time. Clearance lost time is the time lost to stopping a line of vehicles at the end of a green phase. Lost time is always measured in seconds.

Clearance lost time often is not observable since some vehicles which were waiting at the start of a green phase still be waiting when the green phase ends

Perhaps a repeat is justified:

People! Get off your smartphones and pay attention to the traffic signal. Be prepared for it to turn green and stomp on the gas so all of us will lose less time! I don’t want to be honking my horn at you!

Photographic Art logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

9 thoughts on “Lost time (No, you can’t get it back)

  1. Pit

    Good morning, Russel,
    Interesting post! Thanks.
    Btw, to me it matters more that people should pay attention to the red traffic lights and not – because they’re talking or texting – blaze through a red one, or, as it happened here twice last week, rear-end cars waiting at a red one. I’m really scared of that, and even more scared of people texting and not paying attention to the traffic in front of them when I’m out on the roads bicycling.
    Have a great weekend,

    Liked by 3 people


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