I really don’t think it’s my imagination. Ever since restrictions from Covid have opened up and people are out and about more, the bulk of them seem to be trying to perpetually outpace everyone else as they careen down everything from multi-lane expressways to narrow side streets, and the other cars on the street be damned. Is it that they have felt cooped up for so long and they feel a need to make up for lost time by occupying as much space as they possibly can in as little time as possible? I think this last idea points in the direction of a reasonable explanation.
People have grown extremely numb from both the physical and the social isolation generated by Covid. They are desperate to feel alive by making a friction-filled connection with both their physical environment and with other people. Now normal driving is not a very friction-filled activity. Moving along fairly effortlessly on wheels, one could be sliding off the earth as one moves along in one’s vehicle. And apart from turn signals, there is usually no communication with other drivers. And turn signals are themselves a fairly mediated form of communication.
But when one is driving unusually fast, it is a whole different story. One does generate friction for the tires when driving very fast. Friction is also generated with making sudden turns and braking quickly. One feels the speed in the bumpiness and one hears it in the screeching.
And friction is generated when one almost hits another driver, and the other driver sticks his head out the window and starts to shout profanities. And sometimes, the road rage gets so large that the second driver screeches on his breaks and stops his car in front of the first driver and gets out of his car. Then he walks over to the first driver and starts to shout at him and to threaten him. And the first driver gets out of his car and starts to shout back and to threaten the second driver. And the end result is that a lot of friction is generated by both people. And both drivers are effectively pulled out of their numbness, however temporary it may be.
And sometimes, the road rage leads to violence, and one or more people getting hurt. And passing police see what is happening and pull alongside on the road and gather the stories of both parties. And if one or more parties is very hurt as a result of the violence, then an ambulance is called to take whoever is significantly hurt to the hospital.
All this happens because everybody is moving so fast in their lives to overcome the social and physical isolation they are experiencing both as a result of the sensory distortion they are experiencing from modern technological living environments and from the fear of illness they are experiencing as a result of the pandemic.
Moving so fast is a tension-pocket of some kind waiting to explode. An attempt to create some kind of control over one’s life by moving away from the free-floating randomness that one is immersed in when living in an experiential vacuum. Moving fast seems to be an antidote to the entropy in the experiential vacuum. But, in the process of creating this seeming antidote, it ends up creating other problems. It creates excess friction to fight the vacuum and, in the process, impedes the formation of real grounding in a community and real bonding with other individuals. The friction-filled movement has to be kept going to prevent the person from disintegrating in entropy. And driving very fast and colliding with other cars and fighting with other drivers is a perfectly good way to achieve the fleeting transitory effects of generating intense tension-pocket friction. But again, it is just a short-term solution that is created to the entropy from the vacuum. One is shocked out of the vacuum for intermittent periods of time. But one doesn’t obtain the long-term solution of a sustained flow of organic stimulation, which would allow a person to feel fully alive without the need for or the presence of bruising abrasive friction.
And yet people are forced to focus on an abrasive friction to their numbness problem, because in a modern technological living environment, there are few sources of organic stimulation to allow a person to break away from his need for abrasive friction in order to pull out of an experiential vacuum. And even if such a source of organic stimulation should suddenly present itself, it would take a long time for a person to learn how to absorb normal sustained amounts of organic stimulation again. So, unfortunately, we are going to have to learn to get used to careening automobiles for a long time to come. And all the accompanying dangers they bring with them.