Sunday, March 4, 2012

Road Rage: Auto Humanity Deficiency Disorder


Please help me. I need out. I want to run in grass, and chase bunnies. (seen at a stoplight)

What is it about being inside a car that makes people crazy? I don't claim to know, not really. Just that often, just getting behind the wheel seems to have a disinhibiting effect, appearing to undercut anger control, combined with a certain degree of dehumanization that permits beastly behavior. Possibly similar to, or parallel with, the online disinhibition effect. With no offense intended toward actual beasts, who sometimes find themselves trapped in the back seat, poking their heads through cracked windows, gasping for air, staring at concrete, and seeking something, anything, of interest, beyond the endless parade of similar metal boxes rolling along, piloted by humans operating on emotional hair triggers. BAM!! They are set off, and the rage is on.

Is it the high price of gas? Oil companies sticking it to them? Insurance and car payments? Emissions testing? Traffic jams? CHECK ENGINE light? Busted air conditioner? Strange sounds coming from under the hood? Mechanics ripping them off with unneeded repairs and outlandish repair costs? Construction zone? Tickets? The empty, lifeless hours wasted away staring at the inside of a windshield while gripping the steering wheel? The mechanical inelegance, the actual absurdity, of burning expensive fuel to move 4000 pounds of machine in order to transport a couple hundred pounds of flesh? Yikes, I'm starting to feel a little bit of rage myself, just reading this paragraph.

Constant vigilance of the sort required to safely drive an automobile at high speed is wearing, stressful, and difficult to impossible for humans for any length of time.

In marked contrast, constant civility while riding a bicycle at a medium speed is energizing, rewarding, and possible to sustain for hours. Provided there are generous coffee and snacking stops, of course. With time out to watch some birds in a park, or to read a book beneath a shady tree. Sure, this may mean I don't make it from A to B in record time. You might even say I'm dawdling a bit. But, wow, those are some sad eyes on the auto-entrapped dog.

Please. Take me for a bike ride. I can even sit in a basket. Just get me out.

5 comments:

  1. That makes me so mad. If the temps in Phoenix are like ours in La Quinta, that car becomes an oven very quickly. My husband has chased down people in stores or even called the cops when he has found their dogs locked up like that. Is that a huge chain tying the dog in?

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    1. To clarify, Debbie, this photo is of a moving vehicle. But your sentiment is perfectly true, and happens far too often here, and I feel the same way. I saw him sticking his head out the window like that during my morning commute, and felt that he would be happier outside like me, rather than chained up in the back seat like that.

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  2. Never chain a dog like that into a bike basket. We taught that yesterday in Cycle Savvy when the question came up. The question of chaining a dog into a closed car didn't come up. At least the question of chaining a dog to a bike basket only concerned only the likelihood of injury to the dog should the rider fall.

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  3. I confess to Road Irritation(RI).
    I used to get all RR'ed out but now I have air conditioning.
    My Check Engine light has been on for two years.
    I suppose I should check my engine.

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  4. At the least the dog was not driving.

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