Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Hell on Wheels

This goes out to all those tough guy drivers of the world. The type that wouldn't even look you in your eye if you passed them on the street, but inside their cars they're cold blooded gangsters. You could take the most mild-mannered, happy-go-lucky guy/gal, throw them behind a steering wheel during rush hour and they become Jack Lambert.


How come? The fact cars are just big metal chunks being piloted around at decent speeds adds a lot of power to a driver. We're all familiar enough with the ugly side effects of power over the next man. That's a big factor.

The bigger factor, however, is the social shield cars provide to drivers. You aren't really outdoors inside your car. You aren't really interacting with the people of your society inside your car. It's a protective bubble from the "outside" world that carries you around. People allow their inner aggressions/hostilities/competition/stress to surface freely at any other who crosses them wrongly on the road, because they feel safer from repercussion inside their bubble.

Another factor is the likelihood of seeing that driver again, or at least on any regular basis. Chances are, you can scream at someone, flick them off, honk at them, drive away pissed, and forget about it twenty minutes later. You might meet that person a few weeks or even days later and it not register being the same person you were pissed at. So weird.

You never hear of sidewalk rage, or bike trail rage, or bus rage (bus rage exists, but in a different forum for a different discussion). That's because there's more accountability in these face-to-face situations. You can't just yell profanities at someone and speed off, unless your really spry, or Kenyan.

Next time you're cruising in your mid 90's Japanese car, and an old, twenty foot Buick, with temporary tags, rust spots and dents, and shiny rims, cuts you off, think to yourself: would I yell at this guy on the street if he walked in front of me? Prolly not...tough guy.


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