Monday, March 20, 2017

Traffic, #7 on the List, I Think

I drive about 11 miles to work. Part of it is on sedate side streets, with a center lane for people who want to turn left, they won't have to gum up the works. Part of that is on a freeway. Four lanes of terror filled, action packed, bumper to bumper suicide. And every second is horrible.

It has become obvious I am not a very good driver. I am too easily distracted. To counter this I leave plenty of room between the car in front and me. Room that is quickly taken by someone who has an unshakable faith in their driving skills. Someone who zoomed up behind me, to within inches of my bumper only to slingshot past me, and veer wildly into the nice roomy, safe space so carefully calculated, and maintained.

Discretion may be the better part of valor, but aggression is the posture most people assume behind the wheel. I love my job but I am not in that big a hurry to get there. Certainly not enough to risk my life. Definitely not enough to risk somebody else's life. If I'm a little late so be it, just so long as we all get there safe.

Daily, though, there are people willing to risk it all to shave a few seconds off their commute. Careening from the far right, to the far left lane and back again. The whole freeway is less than 6 miles long. Even if you added 10 miles and hour to your speed how much time could you possibly save?

I realize it is a dog eat dog world, and only the tough survive, and survival of the fittest, and all of that. Sometimes, though, when I get stuck, and traffic is creeping along because of an accident I wonder about the cause, could it have been avoided?

Sometimes, when things are too quiet, or too noisy, or too hard to understand I can't help thinking that is the way I'm going to die. In a violent collision caused by a minor miscalculation, Velocity minus resistance, times angle. Close, but no cigars. An unfortunate victim of terrible circumstance, on a busy highway. Wrong place, right time, almost. And people will inch past the ambulances, tow trucks and police officers cursing the inconvenience.

Tomorrow I am going to the doctor about my sore knee, my wife won, she always does. Maybe I should have listened to her a long time ago and saved myself some suffering, and saved her the pain of hearing about the suffering. Going to the doctor is its own special pain, though, and she will hear about it too, she isn't out of the woods, yet. We will talk about my knee, he will prescribe x-rays and then he will ask, "is anything else bothering you?"

And I will be tempted to say, "yes, traffic." But, I won't.