On my drive home today I noticed on more than one occasion there was an ominous car riding along behind me. Their lights glared at me angrily, I could see in their glow a malice that would give any sensible person unease. These cars would switch out, taking their turns off to their own homes, and not as I expected driving along with me to my home. You’ve seen the film. A truck pulls up behind you and the satanic brilliance of their lights reminds you of the few minutes you have left. They honk and you sweat. Then you think it must be a fluke, this trucker couldn’t possible be a psycho killer. Shortly thereafter you are a footnote in an otherwise unremarkable film written by otherwise unremarkable people.
It wasn’t until these cars, these dirty devilish things, were replaced by other equally dirty and devilish things that I realized something amusing. I was sitting there beneath an overpass. The halogen glow of some overpriced and poorly manufactured SUV reflecting like the surface of the sun off my side view mirror and deep into my eyes.
It looked angry. The tilt of the lights and the flow of the glow created this expression of malice. In my right ear I could hear Liz talking about something entirely innocent and I wondered. I wondered if every time a car creates a persona for me if people in those cars are doing something mundane. If they are talking about the random whatnots of life and are totally unaware of this evil creature that they are powering along the road.
How many times I’ve been in a car behind another with bad exhaust and heard “Those people must be disgustingly dirty.” But you couldn’t possibly smell the car ahead of you [smokers excluded]. What you are smelling is the exhaust of a system completely separate from the body of the car where the people are kept.
And yet so often these smell cars look terrible inside. It’s an amusing coincidence.
How many stories do we all make about those cars on the roads with us. These strange little pods, each its own novel. The reality is that each has its own story but that those stories are mundane. Discussions about food, politics, baby sitting. Few, if anyone, is likely concerned with you or trying to agitate you. Your existence for them is likely not even being registered at all. You do not exist. Your car is all you are.
We give a soul to things that lack one (I use the term soul loosely). Humanizing everything to give it a sense of innocence and equally of control. I’m reminded of this further by the spam bots that continually try to convince me that their random jumbles of words are genuine thoughts from genuine flesh beasts. Serendipitously I watched a video which discussed how they make those sentences. A mathematical system known as the Markov Chain.
Life is amusing.