Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Road Exasperation

I won't call it road rage, but I will call it exasperation. Mormon Man at In Mala Fide explained my thoughts pretty well in his article, Stop Whining.

I have an idea of how the world should be. It seems fair and objective. When people don’t live up to it – whether at work or my personal life – I vent about it and get frustrated.

A perfect example for me and most of the men in my life is road rage. I hate driving home from work and want it to take as little time as possible. So if I’m delayed because someone is too slow in one lane or isn’t paying attention when the light turns green, it really sets me off. Logically, I know that it really only adds three minutes to my commute at the most. But the fact that someone isn’t driving the way I expect them to instantly triggers frustration. It’s annoying.

Why are things so bad? One reason is that most people just don't think - they're either stupid or ignorant or both. And so when an asshat holds up a line of cars going 20 in a 25, then speeds up to 35 mph just as the light turns yellow to blow through it while leaving everyone else stuck at a red light, I can't help but vocalize a "fuck you" and hope he or she sees my middle finger in the rearview mirror.

When I am on the road, my goal is to get to my destination as safely as possible at a decent clip, while ensuring that I'm not holding up other drivers by doing stupid things. To me, driving is cooperative, and because I don't want other drivers to hold me up, I make damn sure I don't hold up other drivers. If everyone were to do the same, the roads would be less stressful and safer, though I suppose inept drivers who shouldn't be on the road in the first place would still be fucking things up for the rest of us.

If I had held up a line of cars and sped through a light at the last second like that, I would be embarrassed and mouth a silent "sorry guys". Somehow I don't think most people would, and it's not just ignorance - it's selfishness.

The ignorance, foolishness, and selfishness of the masses are leading contributors to why society is so messed up these days. While these traits of the human species are likely innate, they are probably amplified greatly by the fact that people today have no need to learn, to think, or to care for other people.

Technology makes it so easy to be a dumb unthinking drone, and our educational and legal systems do nothing to make people use their noggins once in a while to focus on what they're doing. Maybe if we taught children to fend for themselves and solve problems hands-on, maybe if we actually required drivers to be competent before putting them on the roads, maybe if we didn't make it illegal to drive 1 mph over a speed limit that doesn't always make sense, maybe if police officers spent more time educating poor drivers on the rules of the road and common decency rather than sending boys to prison for smoking a joint or having sex with a girl their own age or older... well who am I kidding?

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