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Driving is a tragic wonderment of exhilaration, anxiety, and the potential for Gruesome Death. Or something like that...

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Analytical Reason #3: Driving is a miracle of Technical Achievement and Sheer Exhilaration.

Human beings love to drive. They just love it. Even when they hate it, they love it. There is something in the human being that loves the sensation of motion. Whatever that thing is, it feels the same way about driving that your dog does. Most of us don't actually stick our heads out the window with our tongues flapping and our ears flying back - but basically we want to.

We would stick our arms and legs out the car if we could, just to experience the air rushing over the skin. When we are actually in motion, we looove driving. Part of us is in heaven. Our fervent desire for driving is to spend more time in motion and less time stopped. What we would actually like usually is to spend more time in faster motion and less time in slower motion. We would like to spend more time in faster motion with fewer cars so we could go even faster and have even more fun! We love to drive!

Because we love to drive, we naturally think we are good at it. What would be the point of loving to do something you suck at? That would be weird. Possible, but weird. So our brains take the easy way out and imagine that we are good at driving because, unless we are physiologically messed up, we know we love it.

This is a major source of your driving problems right here. Because people love to drive - they do. Because they do - there are ever more people on the road. The more people there are on the road, the slower you have to go and the more time you spend stopped. The more time you spend slowing and stopping, the more you hate driving.

The people in your area are terrible drivers and complete assholes because they exist. They constitute a direct and grievous threat to one of your body's most primal pleasures and the more your body thinks about this, the madder it gets! If it weren't for these goddamn other drivers, you would be having so much fun! But you're not.

If you look at how angry driving people get and what they get angry at - frequently it has nothing to do with anything except that they are being deprived of the sensation of motion. You'd think everyone actually got a card at birth that says 'you are entitled to the uninterrupted sensation of motion every time you operate a motor vehicle on a paved road in a sovereign nation.' It feels like a god-given right. It makes the body furious to be deprived of it - particularly in an instance where it was really looking forward to it.

Even if you live in an area where there really aren't that many people - and therefore they are not really depriving you of all motion - your brain will still calculate how much motion it could be experiencing if they weren't there at all - and then it will be mad at them for being there.

The drivers in your area happen to be the worst, rudest, most intolerable drivers in the entire world - because they are the drivers directly preventing you from having the exhilarating driving experience you know you were born to have. It's a tragedy. Feel free to weep.

After you have indulged in some sincere weeping, brace yourself for the next round of bad news. Auto manufacturers are making cars better and better all the time!

You know what this means. Driving is even more fun than it used to be! You can go faster and in more luxury than at any time in history. People today drive cars that are more tricked out (and expensive) than the houses of 30 years ago. People today drive cars that are the equivalent of small airplanes.

This has two inescapable consequences. Ever more people are driving more and more, farther and farther, for longer and longer times, making the roads ever more crowded, congested, polluted and slow. And the slower you go, in today's traffic (which is objectively exponentially worse than the traffic of 30 years ago), the greater the contrast between what you are doing - and what you could actually be doing in your marvelous almost flying machine.

You are in a vehicle that could tear down a deserted highway at 120 mph without breaking a sweat - and you will never witness a deserted highway in your lifetime. Cars today are so good that driving 120 mph doesn't even seem dangerous. If you were driving a '57 Buick at 120 mph, you'd be pretty certain you were an inch or two from sure death. But not in your Escalade. An inch or two from annihilating any unlucky motherfucker that got in your way - but you yourself are immortal. You are so close to having every sensation of motion you could ever want - and yet, thanks to all those other assholes on the road, you are so so far away from what you crave. It breaks your body's heart and it curses, curses I tell you, curses those other drivers on the road. It lifts its fist and swears before God that these people are intolerable, rude, and there is no justification for their existence. It sheds the bitter tears of resentment and helplessness, overwhelmed by the vast and rising tide of people in vehicles that could house a family of four. It sends swirling chemicals of negativity and defeat through your body and moans, why? why? why? in a heartrending manner designed to catch the attention of almighty God in hopes of being blessed with a stretch of open road. And then---when a space opens up, it zooms as fast as it can until the space is gone and it is thick in the middle of another clump of Bad Drivers.

And so on and so on. You can add more dramatic verbiage as fits your taste. Or scale it back if you are the stoic type. Whatever. The underlying reality is the same. And there's only one thing I can think of to do to reverse this downward spiral of ever more drivers, driving ever more miles, in ever nicer vehicles.

Encourage car manufacturers to bring back the crappy cars of yesteryear! Nobody wants to drive a damn Pinto! Or an AMC Gremlin or Pacer, or a Ford Fiesta. Bring back the VW van! There are some ancient Audis that break down approximately every 2 1/2 miles. That'll keep people off the road! What about Fiats! They could reduce the driving population considerably. If we could just bring back bad cars, people will stop driving. If people stop driving, they will not be in your way. If they are not in your way, they will automatically become better drivers. Nothing could be simpler or more logical.

Which brings us to Analytical Reason #4 for the Bad Drivers in your area: Your Gruesome Death.

In a way, nothing could be simpler or more obvious. And yet, this one is tricky, and even sociological researchers with advanced degrees completely fail to get it. Statistics and driver's ed classes inform us that there is nothing in your life more likely to leave you a mangled, bloody, mutilated heap of Gruesome Deathness than getting in a car and attempting to drive it somewhere.

If we think about our three previous Analytical Reasons, we are forced to come to the conclusion that the ability of massive numbers of people to navigate themselves from one point to another in a box of steel, metal, fiberglass, and cup holders at speeds approaching 80 mph at times is actually completely impossible. How can massive hordes of people with below average intelligence possibly do this? The obvious answer would be that they can't. How could people who have never really learned to figure out their VCRs or how to dress themselves with a modicum of taste possibly be able to adequately guide a steel box at high speeds in the presence of large numbers of other stupid people? It defies the imagination.

So we need to ponder this for a moment - until we realize that in fact, our logical deduction is correct - and people can't. Traffic accidents are a fact of life. They happen all the time. You Are Not a Good Driver. Neither am I. Neither are the NASCAR guys who suddenly decide that what they actually wanted was to drive rapidly into a retaining wall.

We simply cannot do it. We cannot manage the incredibly complex number of inputs and rapid decisions and physical coordination and focused yet ever shifting attention that is required to drive - and so we periodically screw it up. Just like we screw up everything else we humans do. Give us points for spirit and trying - but not for flawless execution. If you think about it - it's absolutely amazing that every single one of us doesn't die immediately during our very first attempt to drive. It's dangerous!

But...we love it. We have to do it. We cannot resist the siren lure of our own personal vehicle and the wonderfulness of driving it to Target to pick up bath towels. Only the extremely fearful, the incredibly weird, and the person who lives in Manhattan can possibly resist the primal impulse to drive. And so we do, day in, day out, very frequently not dying in spite of the odds.

The only thing I can think of to account for this is that driving somehow represents a throwback to our romantic jungle heritage in the wild or something crazy like that. Perhaps we were just born, bred, or evolved to get a kick out of managing a multitude of conflicting and potentially dangerous sensory input while simultaneously eating, combing our hair, messing with the stereo, and talking to our Significant Others on the cell phone. Perhaps it's not that different in some ways from Tracking Dangerous Animals on an Intrepid Hunting Expedition while gossipping, plotting against our neighbors, fantasizing about sex, getting hungry, enjoying the scenery, and occasionally being startled out of our wits by the stray venomous snake hissing vehemently in our path. Or perhaps driving is not that different from Mortal Combat in a Dangerous War and we are automatically adapted to it.

At any rate, human beings (and most other animals I guess) have a huge and handy section of their brains devoted to what's called procedural memory. This is a section that figures out, and possibly enjoys figuring out, how to automatically do all the things you do while driving without paying very much attention to them. I understand procedural memory also enjoys a vigorous game of tennis and playing piano concertos. It also likes to type. Whatever. There's no accounting for its tastes.

But this little sucker, that there Procedural Memory thing, is so damn talented that it routinely drives our vehicles to Las Vegas for us so that we can go gambling. And it gives us the illusion that this driving thing that we enjoy so much at a primal level is not all that dangerous. And so we toodle along merrily to work, listening to NPR even though NPR sucks, barely even thinking about the fact that we are performing a dangerous activity at occasionally high speeds that in many ways we are not qualified for and could very easily kill us.

But the rest of our body doesn't forget!! Our Procedural Memory and our I Love Motion Detectors may be just fine with driving but other parts of our body, such as the squishy ones that could easily get mangled in an unfortunate and rapid encounter with vehicle parts, are actually scared out of their wits. This has a big effect on the rudeness of the drivers around you.

Because...when someone cuts you off - they're not just being rude - they're trying to kill you! Every fiber of your body knows this. A rude asshole who steps on your foot elicits one reaction from your body. A rude asshole who waves a loaded gun around the vicinity of your head elicits another. The second rude asshole makes you really mad. Driving makes your body really really mad.

Sociologists who attempt to acount for road rage or driving behavior think people are acting irrationally or territorially or something. They're not. They are reacting completely rationally to the reality that their very existence on this planet is being threatened. Some maniac switching lanes at 90 mph could easily fucking kill you. Your body knows this even if you don't. That person represents a threat and an enemy. Any driving infraction, even a relatively minor one, can set off your body's internal 'This Asshole is Threatening My Very Life' reaction. And driving infractions happen all the time because No One Is A Good Driver. The drivers in your area happen to be particularly rude because they are threatening your life and not someone else's.

If people didn't actually die or get injured in car accidents all the time, you could say that you and I are irrational or overly peeved or excessively grumpy in our desire to complain about bad drivers in our area. However, people do actually die and get injured in car accidents all the goddamn time and we are not the least bit insane to get pretty fed up about it. The insane part is that we drive anyway becasue we love it so much and we need to run errands and cart ourselves to that torture pit known as our job. We quite naturally and sensibly want everyone else to stop making driving errors so that our personal health and safety will not be threatened. Isn't going to happen but it's not an irrational desire.

The thing is - we aren't going to stop driving just because some idiot could kill us and in fact might one day. That is too high a price to pay for avoiding danger. It really is. The truth is a giant anvil could fall from the sky and kill you in your home anyway. Of course someone would have to get it up into the sky and then drop it on you which apparently doesn't happen all that often but could. You can't avoid danger all the time and most of us don't want to if avoiding danger means not plopping our butts in our luxury vehicles with the kick-ass sound system and hurtling down the highway as fast as possible while enjoying the delirious sensation of motion. NFW. I'm not going to stop driving and neither are you. and I are going to do what thousands of years of evolution have prepped us to do. We are going to complain. Complaining is nature's way of allowing us to tolerate something that is not ideal but that we don't really want to change because that would be a hassle and besides there are some benefits to whatever we are complaining about. This is exactly the category driving falls into. Evolution wants you to complain. It wants you to express the opinion that the drivers in your area are the worst in the world. It enjoys that. It likes that. It allows your evolutionary self to blow off steam. Part of the reason the drivers in your area are the worst in the entire world is because if they weren't - you'd have hardly anything to complain about! That's no good. You need to complain. So the drivers in your area may not actually do anything all that dramatic compared to the drivers in Italy or Shanghai - but that doesn't mean you can't complain about the way their vehicles look! Or about the lifestyles and ethnicities of the people who drive them! You need to complain about something. You need to make them the worst, most irritating people in the world in some respect. They are trying to kill you! The least you can do in acknowledgement of this basic fact is insult them!

All right, enough about that. Now it's time to get to the dessert reason why the drivers in your area are so bad. The real reason. The reason that applies to you personally. The one that makes you special and more entitled to complain and use bad language than anyone else. And so on and so forth. Etc. Etc.


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