Hang Up and Drive

Disrespect is fostered within the citizenry by irresponsible government and law enforcement. At it’s best, it is mere disrespect for one’s fellow man. At the worst, it is blatant disrespect for the law. One need only look to the roads to find anarchy in America.

Living in a major Metropolitan area on the east coast for the last 15 years has made me an expert on traffic and disrespect. The roads are an arena, where tin-horn gladiators vie for pole position. Our irresolute decision to defend our lane from offending and intrusive vehicles has led to a perfect model of our self-serving society. We aggressively assert ourselves on the highways, and will do almost anything to stay one car length ahead of the next guy. We will run you off of the road, or drive on the shoulder when you are too slow. We will not merge peacefully. We will change lanes in a frenzy to get ahead. We will cut you off, and then curse and flip the bird when it happens to us. Other traffic is the enemy.

I have been the victim of road rage, and I have suffered in it’s grip myself. More recently I have tried to relax on the roads, and as a result have become fascinated with people’s behavior as they drive. They read books or newspapers while whizzing down the highway at high rates of speed. I have even seen several people shaving on their morning commute. And then there are the phones.

It used to be, that when I saw somebody driving like an idiot, I assumed they were drunk or stupid. Now I assume that they have one of those annoying little phones screwed to their ear. Everyone knows that it is dangerous to talk on these things and drive, but everybody does it. Do they realize that their speed drops by 20 mph the second they dial, that they swerve, veer, and generally just drive worse than they did during driver’s ed sophomore year? When did it become necessary to be constantly in communication with everyone we know at all times, anyway? Does our right to free speech entitle us to endanger others while exercising that right?