A sad story

Some time ago I was stuck in the right lane of northbound stop-and-go 6pm-ish traffic on the Bridgeway in Sausalito. I was driving my electric car at the roughly average speed of the traffic flow, sometimes letting a space open up ahead of me, since it was clear that that space would be taken up again well before the traffic ahead was able to move.

There was a driver behind me for whom this unassertive driving seemed to come as a personal affront. You know the signs. His vehicle (of course it was a he) was some sort of Hummer-lite macho thing. After being a prisoner of my sissy driving as long as he could stand, he took advantage of a slight widening of the shoulder (covered with zebra-striping, I believe) to gun his engine and pass me on the right.

So far, nothing too out of the way. But when he caught up with the traffic ahead, he got out of his car and came and stood behind it, staring at me as I approached and stopped, as if to say, “So, faggot, do you want a piece of me?”

Did I wish to engage this man in argument, or in fisticuffs? Uh, no. I glanced at him, trying to convey “Are you for real?”, then directed my gaze elsewhere; and eventually, when he felt that masculinitiy had been satisfied, he returned to the driving seat and, not soon enough, passed out of my life.

The point, though, is this. What is happening to our so-called eusocial species? Since we are animals with culture, we cannot say to what extent this sort of bone-headed selfishness is down to genes. But supposing there to be a genetic component, it appears that these genes are not being selected against as strongly as the rest of us would wish.

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One Response to A sad story

  1. Tim Heilman says:

    In order to detach from the inevitable dehumanization of being in an automobile on the public roads, I chose a different path, impossible for any majority given our land use, of not owning a car. It helps, yet still Kevin drives, and I often am his passenger. Navigating the world of the car is one of the hardest things to insulate our emotional worlds against. We actively discuss it, and try to remember it is by far the most dangerous thing we do in our lives, so hard to perceive since the risk is from extremistan, yet our minds can’t help but default to think of it as in mediocristan. More pragmatically, a quote from Thich Naht Hanh: “Before starting the car, I know where I am going. The car and I are one. If the car goes fast, I go fast.”

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