A day in the life of a car

November 28, 2011
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Have you ever ventured out into the world before the sun?
Ever seen the earth, as it would look at its end?
The gleam of daylight is only a hint in the sky, an eerie glow feebly attempting to eclipse the world.
Everywhere is quiet, vacated by slumbering souls.
Homes pass, now only buildings with windows dark.
Sidewalks fly by, vacant, unneeded.
Cars sit inside garages, forgotten, for now.
Before a new beginning can emerge, the world must be veiled in a vast silence.
And then out of nowhere comes the life.
Two bright stars set against an earth-bound sky
They surface against the deepest darkness of a world abandoned.
Like a periscope on a black still ocean, at first only lurking, but steady with the deliberateness of a human hand.
Unlike the feeble streetlights in the distance, these do not fade. Nor do these beams waver as the uncertain sun above, but grow greater in multitude and strength with the miles flying by.
They are a shock against the blackness, pinpricks that remind, reassure, the end is still far from near.
What a marvelous job in this world of dusk and shadow, to illuminate the path ahead.
Some say people are defined by the company they keep, or the decisions they make. I say it is how you handle limitless freedom, when finally granted it, that truly defines an individual. I say, it is how you drive that is the most telling of all.
Nestled inside two thousand pounds of plastic, Plexiglas and gasoline, we are bombs in free fall. Yet, comforted by our butt warmers and lulled by our satellite radio, we feel invincible.
Such is the delusion of safety that we disregard social inhibitions.
Inside our steel cubicles, all bets are off.
Such is the power of the anonymity, of the faceless fortified mass, that we are rendered blissfully and revoltingly free of all accountability.
Such is the irresistibility of the open road that without warning or a hint of hesitance, we become those dreaded drivers. We cut people off, we flip people off, we speed, we swear. We become irrationally annoyed at others.
As rational creatures, we later recognize our stupidity, and for a moment, thank that it was only just a moment, but this moment is brief, and soon forgotten.
As creatures of habit we do not change. Instead, we rationalize our wrongdoing. It’s the only way to vindicate our reckless, stupid, behavior.
Yet, we know the consequences. As the day draws to a close, and the light is once again a receding hint, surrendering to the gathering darkness, and the rain-slicked pavement becomes a deadly skim, and the ominous blur of blue and red slows the traffic to a crawl, we see its victims.
You gawk at them as you roll slowly by, separated by a few feet, but worlds apart. By the side of the road, their cars placed absurdly, grotesquely bent and broken, just like their owners.

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