There is an expression: don’t dress for who you are, dress for who you want to be. And, for this Budget Vogue fashionista, that would be a traffic worker.

Susan Dromey Heeter's Budget Vogue column sig

Every morning, I sport a bright yellow neon vest in order that my daily walk allows me to come home alive. I leave for my walk well before 6 a.m., well before the sun rises, in the early hours of the morning, in the quiet silence, when most slumber. It’s at this time I find my zen and begin my day in peace, sans screens, sans noise, sans people.

But it’s vital that I be seen — the back roads I travel can be so dark. I accessorize with a flashlight in addition to wearing a neon vest. It’s a look that allows me to be seen rather than viewed, as might happen should an errant car find me less than visible.

During my morning walk a few days ago, I came across a sign tossed by the side of the road: it was one of those traffic controller signs that reads “Stop” on one side and “Slow” on the other. I did not pick it up immediately as I thought, well, someone may come back for this. I waited a few days and then, as it was still there, brought it home and now am entirely ready for my position as a crossing guard or traffic worker.

I’ll embrace the power.

After my early morning sojourn, I go to my screen and begin my gig as a remote teacher. I’ve been an educator for decades now and this year is entirely different. I click on, get to work, assign tasks, work with WiFi and technology and feel as if every Google Form, every Google Quiz I create is like doing taxes followed by getting audited. Every day. My cherubs remind me of my shortcomings, my lack of technological prowess. I learn, I stare at icons and screens and click, click, click.

So the thought of holding a sign with two simple commands is compelling, inviting, liberating:

Stop. Slow.

I’ll wear my vest and delight in being outside, waving cars on, instructing them to stop, to slow. I’ll probably get reprimanded by talking too much, especially when I spot a friend in her car. I’ll ask her where she’s headed, chat for too long and bear the animosity of impatient drivers and their blaring car horns. I’ll smile and wave. Smile and wave.

My traffic gig will require no clicks. I won’t have to direct students to “Unmute.” There will be no updates on Google Classroom, no incessant texts on Hangouts, no clarifications of assignments. Just Stop. Just Slow.

I will embrace my imaginary job. And I celebrate all of you Budget Vogue fashionistas on the screens and especially those of you Budget Vogue Educators who are working magnificently, on screens, with technology, with less than stellar conditions. I hope you, too, STOP and SLOW. You deserve it.

Susan Dromey Heeter writes and teaches on the Seacoast. Contact her at