Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Everyone Drives (Unfortunately)


By Michael Mercurio

I have just spent the last fifteen hours and twenty minutes trapped in my car, driving from Florida to Virginia.  While definitely not the most pleasant position to be held in, it did offer me a unique perspective, as well as provide source material for this short comparative piece.

Before I left home, my day started in the same manner as every other.  I awoke to the sound of an engine with no muffler, and a bass turned loud enough to shake my entire bedroom.  I groggily sat up to look outside my window - installed just over my bed which is flush against the wall.  I noted with annoyance the gentleman sitting on the street a mere twelve feet across from my place of rest, as he - for no apparent reason - gunned his vehicle's motor for several minutes before zooming to the main intersection at speeds several times the posted residential limit.

It was 3:00 AM.

This typically happens on the hour, until around 7:00 AM - in time for the landscapers to begin work on the hedges directly below my bedroom portal.  Were one of them to turn their head, they would easily see my distressed form through the plastic slats.

On the way to Virginia, I noted the number of these similarly loud cars that cut in front of me without signaling a warning - other than the noxious emission emanating from their tailpipes.  You see, while many states have a law that requires vehicles to be inspected for harmful emissions and sound pollution, Florida has no such law.  Your chosen mode of transportation could literally be falling apart at the seams, and it's perfectly legal so long as you have a license, working lights, and insurance - not that many drivers here have insurance.

On the other hand, I've been on that side of the fence as well.  State inspections come with a hefty price tag - particularly when you have to pay for the inspection itself as well as the repairs needed to pass it.  In this respect, I can forgive Florida's loud - and sometimes unhygienic - vehicles.  The habits of the drivers themselves however, leave a lot to be desired.

I realize that aggressive driving is not limited to Florida.  However, erratically aggressive driving seems to be a unique staple here.  Perhaps it is due to the state's "melting pot"esc culture, combined with the travel habits of a large population of retirees.  This rather eclectic variety of driving styles seems to make for a very complex symphony of vehicular discord.  No doubt a practicing chaotician would find a study on this phenomena to be utterly fascinating.

I am not a chaotician.  I'm simply glad to be out of the car.

Michael Mercurio
Copyright 2013
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