Driving

Everyone in this country thinks that X city has the worst drivers, and from first hand experience they have never driven in Cali, Colombia. I am sure that the reason that people don’t care about traffic signals or speed limits is that there is little consequence beyond getting on a wreck or taking someone’s life… that happens quite often and I lost my best friend to a car crash down there years ago. In the US the fear of getting stopped by the police and given a fine keeps most people driving within reason, but we have all seen people driving like maniacs in an interstate if they think its “clear” and then slow down as soon as there is a cop.

There is a little anecdote I hear about someone that got a chance to move and work in Switzerland. Someone from the company he was working for was driving him to work every morning and he noticed that he parked very far away from the entrance in a very limited parking lot. The person’s curiosity was eventually too much and they asked why did he park so far since they obviously got there early and were there first. The driver explain it in very simple logic, “When we arrive earlier, we have more time to walk to the door. Someone that come in later might need the walk time to actually arrive in time.” To some this might seem dumb, in our society we always want to be rewarded for doing something, we want self gratification so if we get somewhere early we want the “best” parking spot. Thinking of others is not something I see in many parking lots here. Something very small, almost trivial, but it illustrates a lot about how being thoughtful can be applied even to where you park in the morning. If you take that last parking spot right next closer to the door are you making someone running late, even later? Is that just their problem for not getting to their destination with more time?

This morning I wrestled the Chicago traffic once again and it solidifed my view that I need to find a place close to the office because with snow the commute could turn into a two hour mess quicker than you can say Chitown. There are new things here since the last time I lived in the area. A lot intersections now have cameras that will politely request money from you via mail. The highways don’t have the virtual cops and people are just as nasty as I remember. There was a dude in a red mustang that was cutting people off just to get a spot ahead in stop and go traffic.

I am not sure where that shift in the brain happens, that waking up 30 minutes earlier to drive at normal speeds and without stress is just not acceptable compromise. The pace of life here is quicker, but does it really have to be? Can I keep some of that slower pace from Kansas City in here? I guess we will have to wait and see.

3 Responses to Driving

  1. It’s amazing how pissed off people get around here when you take “their” parking spot. I mean, geez, how hard is it to walk?

    When I was first learning to drive, my dad taught me to park farther away from the door, not so people arriving later can have an easier time, but to decrease the chances of other people hitting the car.

  2. Interesting point of view. That’s one that will stick with me. Much like the time you told me that Americans eat too fast. Very enlightening.

  3. Drivers around here aren’t so bad. I’ve never been hit while walking or bicycling, so… I prefer bicycling because you flow with traffic, so you don’t have to wait until a break in traffic and then run across the road (and I live in a small town), not to mention that it’s 3-4 times faster (OK, so driving is 2-3 faster than even that, but there’s nothing I can do about that).

    I always think of myself before others, but I’m told that it’s because I have low self-esteem and don’t think I’m as worthy of things as other people.

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