Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Commuting and the Curse of the Nondescript.

Today I was driving to "work." Things were slow, but I had a little extra time and Dylan was singing Highlands, about twenty minutes of the introspective analysis of a half hour in Boston, or maybe it was longer than a half hour. It might have taken place in multiple locations. It is definitely introspective, I think. Anyway, it is a long song, with a lot of character, a great rhythm and a fantastic hook. But, that is not what I wanted to talk about. 

I wanted to talk about the problems with wet roads, busy freeways and frantic people, kind of, actually that is not what I really want to talk about, I want to talk about license plates. Wet roads, busy freeways and frantic people almost always lead to an accident. Accidents slow down traffic, people become increasingly agitated, more frantic, more likely to take risks and have an accident.

This morning the roads were wet, the freeway was busy, and there was an accident. Traffic was backed up, and slow. Emergency vehicles screamed past with lights flashing, sirens blaring, making all sorts of fuss and noise. I was forced to start Highlands several times.

Since the roads were wet, we were not going anywhere in a big hurry anyway, I had Tennessee Jed by the Grateful Dead cued to play next, and I am a lousy driver I left plenty of room between my car and the car in front of me, I don't want to be a statistic, after all.

Plenty of room seems to signal people that you would like them to move take the place. Technically, I just don't want to run into the person in front of me.

When people force there way into the small space in between me and the car ahead of me it is much easier to say bad things about them if they have a personalized plate.

"Well, 'Mr. Baker,' I hope you are crushed under an unsightly case of male pattern baldness." I don't want anything really bad to happen to the guy in the huge Suburban in front of me, but some patchy psoriasis might force him to stay in his own lane.

Knowing it was "Mr. Baker" (his license plate said so) in front of me made it easier, and more official than an anonymous number. "Well, 'GZB 78N2,' I hope you misplace your wallet, and are forced to spend several minutes of your day in the search." It just doesn't carry the weight.

Moreover, there is always the possibility I would transpose a number and my curse would land on a kind, caring grandmother who was gathering supplies to take to the free clinic, and nowhere near my car. Now, the poor woman is going to have to spend precious minutes of her life of charity and giving suffering for the act of a careless, harried commuter.

Everybody, everywhere should be forced to choose a plate that is at least marginally descriptive, and easy to pronounce. It would make the morning drive and curse so much more pleasant.

This has been a public service announcement, sponsored by Life Explained.