IRL, big screen, little screen, what defines life?

Part I – Driving

I recently provoked an argument with my wife over how long it took her to start accelerating after the light turned green. That morning she was averaging a 5-count. In her defense she was not in her phone, she was just tired after a late night supporting a Silence the Critic show in Salt Lake.

I started the count down after the weather warmed up and I started driving Gretchen around again. Gretchen is a 1966 VW Type 1 [1], more familiarly known as a Beetle.

 Gretchen sunning herself.
Gretchen sunning herself.

When I leave the comfort of the modern equipped Subaru to this delicate piece of history, I noticed very quickly how poor drivers are and what little regard they have for anyone other than themselves in their busy, hustling lives. 

At every moment they are stopped, faces automatically sink and attention drawn to their hands, their laps, anything but what is directly in front of them. When the light changes, it takes a 3 to 4 count before they join the front facing people who are trying to get on their way.

Its even more egregious at a protected left turn lane. What used to allow up to 10 cars through (depending on the time/day/location), we are lucky if 3-4 cars successfully make the move before the light turns red and sets us back another 4-5 minutes. 

When the traffic light starts the transition from green to yellow to red, there is a part of the population who wants to get their 3-4 seconds back and will chance running the red light either out of selfishness entitlement because they caused the delay, or perhaps they were delayed at the previous stop.

When it comes to the rush hour commute, its more revealing. Especially so when I am navigating my state of the art Käfer hugging the slow lane out of shear necessity. More often than not, I spy out of my review view mirror the dip of a motorists head reading the small screen, ignoring the IRL [2] screen in front of them as they happily clip along at upwards of 100 feet per second.

Luckily my Dad ingrained one of the many tools in my skill set to be a defensive driver. Drive as if no one sees you on the road. Pay attention to your surroundings, keep your head on a swivel. Hypervigilence [3] keeps one alive and unmolested [4].

While trying to suppress the old man wanting to yell, get off my lawn. What draws one to the little reality in hand when the world is at your nose? What is so important that cannot wait until the vehicle is in park, the ignition off? Do you really need the navigation app to drive your kid to their school, which you do daily? Do you really need to respond to your BFFs [5] text in .02 nanoseconds? Will Facebag, Twitter, Instagram cease to exist if you wait an hour or whenever it takes you to dismount your vehicle? Are we so bored with life happening IRL that we need to occupy ourselves in fake, projected life in your little glass screen?

[2] In real life
[4] I want to link to a UDOT page showing the number of traffic fatalities year to date, but unfortunately you either have to drive a Utah road to read the sign, or fill out a records request from the State because apparently its too damn difficult for the state to put on the web, or its a state secret or some shit. As of 14 May 2016 the count was 67 fatalities year to date on Utah roads.
[5] The kids tell me this means Best Friend Forever

Edit: Corrected spelling mistakes, added words needed to make coherent sentence.

cars life

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