30 October 2003

"I'm not sure... about automobiles....
With all their speed forward they may be a
step backward in civilization - that is, in
spiritual civilization.  It may be that they
will not add to the beauty of the world, nor
to the life of men's souls.  I am not sure. 
But automobiles have come, and they bring a
greater change in our life than most of us
suspect.  They are here, and almost all
outward things are going to be different
because of what they bring.  They are going
to alter war, and they are going to alter peace."
   - Booth Tarkington, The Magnificent Ambersons

I have been driving the road that rings our great metropolis daily for more years than I care to think about. Actually, it's not just a road -- it's a super-highway, with sometimes three, sometimes four, lanes of high-speed traffic, into which and out of which merge motorcycles, cars, buses, and tractor-trailer trucks carrying all sorts of materials, some hazardous, some not. Over the years, I have played the daily game of dodgems known to all as "the commute."

I have seen fellow commuters behind the wheels of their vehicles applying makeup (what is it, guys? Bronzers, moisturizers, lip balm, what?), combing their hair, dressing, undressing, reading (maps, newspapers, GPS devices, business reports, books), using cell phones (talking, dialing, menuing -- don't get me started on this), eating, smoking, drinking, singing, and otherwise entertaining themselves.

These people do anything to keep their minds off the only task that matters, which is this: driving in a safe, responsible, attentive manner on the crowded freeway. They're a blight, and they endanger lives.
Yours, mine, and their own.

Excuse me. I need to increase the payout for my accidental death insurance.


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