Title: Multi-National Interstate Highway
Date: 11/7/1997
Posted: 7/4/2001

 

 
Humans are by nature hateful machines. I realize this at different points of the day while trying to be somewhat civil to others. I notice this most on the highways. I think this premise goes a bit beyond the 90s phenomenon of Road Rage. Road Rage is nothing more than a person who is unbalanced to begin with not dealing well with the strains of an over populated areas and under-developed infrastructure. Though a real problem, it gives no insight into the interaction of people.

While on the road I do realize I am not always the nicest most courteous driver. I possess the normal pet peeves of drivers. I don’t like motorcycles burning down medians, I don’t like slow people in the fast lane, and I can not stand it when there is a guy changing the tire on a 1974 Volkswagen Bug and EVERYONE has to slow down to look at this like it is an actual event. Sorry folks, it’s a guy named Steve having a bad morning. Sheik Allam Selam is not handing out pocket sized gold bricks. This goes for accidents as well. We Americans with our damn Train Wreck Morbidity Fascination. We might get to see a dead body, or perhaps a mangled one. All in the name of making ourselves feel a little better by celebrating the pain and trauma in other people’s lives. I admit it makes me crazy.

I do not, however, get so burnt down when people cut me off or pull off a Dale Earnhardt style lane crossing at 70 MPH only to slow down to 50mph so that they might do some knitting or write that long overdue letter to a high school friend they had a homosexual affair with. It doesn’t excite me. I will throw out snide remarks and ask people in slow mouth movements exactly where they buy their crack these days. But there are times when perhaps living in a country so filled with more nationalities that I can find on a map gets to me. Then I become a small minded, hateful, and petty person where my only intent is to say something that is hurtful. They can’t hear me, but fuck ‘em I say it anyway.

Now I am a long way from what would be termed a racist. Even in this overly eggshell-walking era of Political Correctness where people refrain from true independent thought or speech just because someone might hear them having an opinion and report them to the Everyone-Must-Play-Nice Police. But I am no Mark Fuhrman. I cannot say with any degree of honesty that I have never used any racial slurs. In fact I will go as far as to say I have used them all and even invented a few that previously did not exist. I was raised in the 1970s where the tension of the races wasn’t healed from the 60s. This is not an excuse, only an explanation of likelihood.

I have since developed a more educated view of different races, religions, and ethnic group. I realize that we are made in a similar matter, we have interchangeable parts, we have common ideas of virtue, and a broad similarity of morality. Now that having been said – as honestly as possible – this is when it falls apart for me.

The Scanning Eye Syndrome. All humans have it. There is no cure for it. And there is no defense against it. It is a simple premise. We are always on the look out for things to fuel our superiority of others. We scan for weaknesses, shortcomings, and any Achilles Heal that might serve useful should we need to go to battle. It is natural and I think has been around since our more primitive days. The exceptions that evolution has added are not so much about survival and protection, but about fashion and physical attractiveness. When we see a morbidly obese person we say in our minds "Hey Look, It is a morbidly obese person." We are already amassing arms. Children do it too but have not yet learned social rules of being polite. They will say ‘Hey Look! A fat person. Mommy, why do they eat so much?" We do this with everything we think is different or inferior about people so that if need be we can use it later. Might not be right but it happens.

I am no different while driving. When I get frustrated or angry at life I do it. I do not wish to downshift and ram a BMW into a utility pole, but I am on the lookout for anything I can use to be hateful. It’s not right but it happens. The rest of the equation is simple to solve for. I drive along, I see someone that does something I think is stupid, and I let them have it. I quickly scan them in a span of a few seconds and I let loose a tirade that would make them cry if they could hear me. They never see it, they never hear it, but they don’t have to. It is an exercise of my ego needing to feel superior. I am not proud as a person, but fulfilled as a human animal.

I am not alone. Somewhere between the Road Rage Militants and the people who love traffic, we exist. I hope our numbers are dwindling. I pray we are endangered. You see when the roads get a little better, and all the angry psychotic people are holed away in prison getting shanked by 280lb men that wear mascara, it will be better.

The highways of this place are more of a metaphor anyway. Everyone is in their own sphere that has its own soundtrack and speed. Everyone is moving toward a destination and a few are lost. Turn Signals are intent while Brake lights are warnings. They are different colors, different styles, different sizes, different ages, and have different things inside. When we get to the point where we figure this out we shall be better off. I refuse to sit on I-30 and bitch that my forefathers did not fight battles at home and abroad just so Mitsuki Hasawgawi can make $80,000 more than me working at Nortel- because maybe they did fight for that. I don’t want to forsake the input others have had on our nation. I want to one day know that everyone sees this as a huge multi-lane highway into our future that every car can drive on.

A little idealistic, but I am young and have that luxury. When I am 56 I will cast my vote to close the borders. Until then I will try open-mindedness.