Fear and Loathing on Four Wheels at Fifty-Five Miles an Hour

Cars are a mask for our persona. They tell people how much money we have, where we need to go and a microcosm into our personalities. None of that is completely true. They may tell people how much money our car is worth but not everybody spends on their expensive car. There are several ways to get a car. A hand-me down, through a loan, rental, and stealing. The car as a status symbol has deteriorated into a lie with the onset of credit and even more with the onset of spending more in credit than one’s resources. Mass transit could get a lot of people where they need to go. Above all the car is a symbol for freedom and privacy.

The problem lies in getting few people to a place quickly. There was a time when people were herded from place to place and mass transit still serves well in those places. There are more people wanting to get to more specific locations at specific times. Mass transit is terrible at that. if you take a bus or train you have to have routes times and waits memorized and have contingency plans for late arrivals and delays. National travel is also a joke because trains only service a few areas in the country.

The car as a persona still holds a bit of weight but it is still a layer removed from reality. When you drive you don’t drive along other people, you drive among cars. A fleet of idiots dead set on going different speeds from you cutting you off and violently threaten your life at any moment of distraction on any vehicles part. The same people that go different speeds and drive like maniacs are at your work ready to complain about their commute. Everything is an indefinite too slow castraphy. If you don’t see another car you are an asshole and you deserve that other driver’s whose safety and hurry was so grandiose that they drive aggressively close, come around to flip you the bird or then cut you off and slam on the breaks. What parent gave such a status symbol of danger to such an insignificant whiny child? Then there is the woman in the van with two children and a back pack. Of course she is on a cell phone! The nerve. Then there are people driving the pussey wagons. Whether old wrinkled or douche beer-filled, they take up more space than lane. Nodding their heads to some band you got over a decade ago. Then there are the people with the best understanding. They are too slow only going five miles over the speed limit backing up six cars deserving the most hanis of last second lane switching. They feel so good to pass the slow moving fools. I’m sure it is just your imagination if they stop beside you at the traffic light.

Then there are the rising costs of these necessities of cars. Cars a big and need to be driven if traded or bought. They need to be serviced because everything breaks. Winter brings its own problems as vehicles need to be dependable and strong enough to push through at least a foot of powder and be able and heavy enough to not blow away going thirty miles an hour. The already electric part of cars is zapped by raw cold alone.

Bicycles, people say, are the answer to all of our woos. Never mind that winter can turn a trip a few blocks into a everest-esque task. The most efficient form of transportation and invented hundreds of years ago. Have you seen the fucked up mess that is a cyclist trying to exist among cars? Especially when they hit the pavement. Fuck this is why we cannot have nice things. Bicycles are and have been toys of sport and jokes for a long time. Have you ever tried walking in the same vicinity of a biker, it is like someone took all the problems of the highway and laid them out in front of you. Names that haven’t been popular enough to call someone sense junior high start flying and the rude looks begin. As opposed to the highway walking and biking have no guaranteed arrival. The time is never quite repeatable and all of a sudden people are talking about records. There is something no one cares about. You biked how many miles today? I went work; now, get the fuck away; I am on a date, here. Though, you feel like sticking up for the guy because some jerk who thinks high school was the best time in life just called him a Fag.

There are electric cars and alternate forms of transportation that will come with their own sets of technical problems and get over the hump set by superiority and lazy people that don’t want to see the point but all in all there will still be traffic problems.

I live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A town built around and planned for cars. I get to work on the highway and haven’t seen the majority of the city after two months. If I leave for work on time I will be there early no matter how fast or slow I go. Most of the time I stick to the right lane and slow down or speed up to let people in and hope that they can figure that out despite trying to folate themselves. Which, they must be doing because ‘matching the speed of traffic to fit into the convenient hole this person is making for me’ is not hard. The left two lanes are a circus of lane changes and the most sensitive speeders I have ever come to loath. Once a person pass me three times. If he ever noticed he would realize the futility of passing people on his ten mile trip. Accommodations for alternate forms of transportation  is not something that the city has found fit to waste millions of dollars on or maybe they have, considering that would be the correct usage of waste, as I cannot see where it was spent. There are no useful sidewalks. There is one in front of a hardware store that starts by on car dealership and ends in the rockgarden of another. There are bike paths only useful for vanity and to lure potential victims closer to cars. If I see any keep off the grass signs I’m stealing it and flipping off the murderous owners if I can find them. You don’t want to get me started on how much I hate grass.

I cannot hide the amount of bile travel leaves in my mouth. It as just as unsavory as it is to write as it is to read. The truth is things will change because that is the only option they have and common sense wins out enough times. There are just as many people that are annoyed by my driving as I am annoyed by theirs. It is a universal dehumanising. I remember to rest easy because getting to work on time is not that hard. I do it every day. I’ve even delayed leaving on time and still arrived to work on time. There is something to be said for that. The system works if you take it easy or if you stress out. The drivers that I marginalize are complex people even if they can be fit into a stereotype and refuse to consider their surroundings thoughtfully. I would love feel invited to walk by the settings of my city but as it stands I still need to drive to the nearest sidewalk and the hyvee that is less than a mile way to get there safely. This is in part due to the infostrure of the city and the versitility and freedom of a car that can go where I want and it isn’t anybody’s business what other drivers I have gagged in my trunk. It isn’t that I am saying that I am smarter and better than other drivers. I just don’t spend my driving time blowing myself.


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