I hate driving. It is a confining, nervous task that sets you out against a world that is indifferent to everything, including itself. You can look around at the other drivers, those busy chattering away and so caught up in their (even hands-free) conversations that they flap their arms around passionately or laugh so uproariously that their eyes are scrunched closed. And then there are the text messengers, those selfish fucking assholes who think that their encoded acronyms are just too important for them not to risk their lives and those of everyone else on the road, including their children in the back seat. And these are just the most obvious modern examples of why driving a car is such a hateful passion.
Here’s an admission: I am a shit-awful driver. I have been in numerous accidents. I have been in five cars that have been totaled, three of which were my fault. I am a terrible driver and I rarely do it anymore unless it is to go down the street to the grocery store or pick one of my children up from school a mile and a half away. But the thing that frightens me the most about this reality is that I am a better driver than probably 98% of the people on the road. I mean, at least I pay attention. My teeth are on edge and my knuckles are white with focus in order to get around the clogs and disorder on the road, and this is more than I can say for most.
And then there is the other danger, the one more likely to make you snap than the constant pressure of keeping your car within the lines while others race over and cut you off and some do not recognize a blind spot and nearly barrel right into you, later honking and flipping you off as though this were all your fault. And the other danger is something far worse in cities than in some leafy suburban cul-de-sac or on an abandoned country dirt road. Yes, here in the city a car in front of you on a narrow street might just see a friend walking or parking outside and this is a sign for them to stop their car in the middle of the street, regardless of the traffic piling up behind them, and have a lazy, meaningless conversation they probably could have had twenty minutes later when the two of them met up at a bar. But they chat and laugh and gossip and when you have finally had enough (or one of the numerous cars behind you) and you irritably honk, you get either an indifferent wave or a burst of red-faced rage that brings the talker back to your car to punch the hood and threaten you.
Driving, more than anything, I believe, brings out the worst in humanity. When will we finally learn to teleport? Oh, never mind. Imagine the traffic on a clogged sub-cellular highway . . .