I find the psychology of driving to be very interesting…
I don’t like to be the type of person to piss and moan about everyday issues or overly-personal problems, but with a one word daily prompt like this, I can’t resist.
I wake up every day at 5am, pack my lunch (delete three sentences of unnecessary dialogue about my morning routine)… I do EARLY mornings. On purpose.
On this particular morning, I was out the door by 5:25 (crushed the whole pack my lunch thing, with a great deal of assistance from my mother), and cruising down the freeway toward my favorite coffee shop (Echo Coffee in Scottsdale, AZ, in case you were wondering). Everything was fine, people are mostly amicable or indifferent because we all commiserate together about the fact that we’re driving at a little past 5am, and we all just want to arrive wherever we’re going alive since our souls are already half-dead and we could fall asleep at the wheel any moment and not wake up. And then there was that one guy. He wasn’t a typical morning person. Morning people aren’t as reckless as he was.
I’m in the fast lane, he’s in front of me, moving slow. So I go into the slower lane (which is now moving faster than us) to pass him. He speeds up. I move into the next slower lane (still faster than we were going) and he moves over into the adjacent lane. At this point, he has officially targeted me as his morning pissing target.
I don’t need to tell you my strategy or how well I executed it or what an outstanding driver I am, but I was able to eventually pass him while he is blaring his horn at me.
As I passed, I couldn’t help but ask, “Why exactly did that person need to include me in their bad-mood morning?” Furthermore, if we were walking down the street, would he actually have the nads to pull that stunt in front of God and everyone, or would he be afraid of getting socked for being rude?
The issue I have with cars is that we feel so safe because it’s such n impersonal way to get around, so we feel like we can do whatever we want and be as blatantly rude as we’d like. That, my friends, is how accidents are caused. They truly are accidents by definition, but most are caused by ignorance and people compensating for other rude people.
And I think this behavior is caused by our innate human nature to want to be first, to get ahead, to be one step ahead of the pack. I thought about it and experimented several times during my morning drive, and when someone passes in a car to get one or two car-lengths ahead, that “step ahead” only gains you fractions of a second, and because of the unpredictability of traffic as a whole, often lands the person farther behind than if they had stayed put in their original lane. Everyone is going 65-85mph, and if you decide to be “bold,” (insert the term “stupid” in lieu of “bold”) you’re literally only getting roughly 35 feet ahead of the person you just cut off. That puts you ~0.34 seconds ahead of two car-length loser behind you. Congratulations.
I understand everyone is entitled to a bad day, but if you feel the need to get ahead in life and attempt to do so by driving like a moron, please get off the road and come to terms with the fact that we all die in the end, and you don’t need to be the person responsible for our deaths. It’ll either land you in jail or also dead. That’s a pretty bleak outlook on life, but without taking a moment to at least pretend to care about the person or family (gonna throw the term children out there for dramatic effect), what’s the point of existence anyways?
I know not everybody is extroverted or thrives on human interaction like I do, but we all get lonely sometimes. If we took a second to care and love the people around us, even the ones we don’t know (insert the term “especially” in lieu of “even”) then I think we’d be a little less lonely, a little less likely to feel like we need to “get ahead,” and maybe think before making the life-altering debate between a 0.34 second head start vs. 25-to-life/death.
Could we make it common practice to stop traffic every once in awhile, exit our cars, and shake hands with everyone around us? Is that what it takes to realize those other things around us are human, too?