Monday, August 15, 2005

here in my car i feel safest of all

Driving into work today, I suddenly became aware of the fact that I was trying to live my life along side dozens of other people, all of us flying down the freeway at 75 miles per hour (yeah, you heard me right, CHP).

I was minding my own business, listening to the radio contentedly as I always do, when this red car pulled up beside me. The woman in the car was furiously yelling her self silly at someone on the other end of her cellphone.

Something about it struck me as odd. I thought I'm about 5 feet away from this complete stranger and she's having an incredibly emotional, incredibly personal moment right beside me. It was strange. I started looking around and, sure enough, everyone around me seemed to be living some little moment of their lives. People were singing loudly, many were on cellphones, some were laughing, some looked bored/weary/fed up with their lives. It was like becoming suddenly self-aware, only ... I guess I had become aware of everyone else's selves ... so, that's a bad analogy.

Are our cars the only bubbles of invisibility where we really feel like we're disconnected from all of the other strangers in plain view? I tried to think of others. I can't. Maybe that moment before everyone deplanes at the gate and you can hear that voyeuristic mix of everyone's personal cellphone calls to colleagues and family, but its not really the same.

Anyway, I found it oddly thought provoking today.


EmoRiot said...

The closest comparison I can find is the gym, where people will now workout while talking on their cell phones. They'll sometimes be fighting with people on the treadmill next to me. "NO! That is NOT what I said, you know that's NOT what I said, and I won't have you hold that against me! You do this all the time and I'm not standing for it!!"

Or sometimes they'll chat with their friend next to them about things more personal than you'd hear being talked about in a restaurant. "Well, I told the doctor to remove it because I certainly didn't want anything that big and infected to stick around any longer, but since I've got that history of anemia in the family he said we should ride it out."

And people sing, too, to their walkmans.

Not quite the same because people are picking their noses and aren't so quick to flip someone off to their face at the gym, like people do in their cars. But it's the closest I could think of.

Bug said...

Yeah, it's an odd little phenomenon. I wonder if people used to do that in Model Ts or on horseback.

"Well, I told the physician to leech it because I certainly didn't want anything that succumbed to the vapors to trouble me much longer, but since we have that history of withered limb in our family he said we should have a blood letting."