A highway is indeed a wonderful thing…All those rules and regulations laid out in neat white stripes and signs and speed limits, yet, even though the individual might wish to dare a little more for speed or to stray outside the legal boundaries…by some small miracle we all obey them… and we manage to do this while each driving our own 2-ton machine, at maddening speeds and side by side with all the others…but still we can each feel the freedom of the open road before us.
And whenever someone does break the rules they must do it right there in front of us for all to witness; whether moving too fast or weaving in and out of traffic or cruising too slowly or not bothering to use the proper signals…their infractions are their truest confessionals.
If we so choose we can curse or yell or damn them to hell from inside the privacy of our own fortress of solitude or we can use the universal language of the common car horn to communicate our cacophonous epithets…and who better than a seasoned and experienced veteran of the steering wheel knows how to make that horn sing with righteous outrage?
And so we cruise these freeways by the thousand millions aware that it is among the most dangerous things that we can do…but even so we stay within the lines and obey the rules… and if and when we do have, what we almost always call, an “accident”, we know that it is most probably because someone, perhaps even ourselves, wasn’t obeying those rules or was driving without the manners that a civilization requires, or without the sobering seriousness that any life lived so intimately and dangerously among others demands.
Yet even though 211 million of us expect to do it safely each time we take the wheel we also realize that having 10 million accidents a year is so far about the best our social order can do…
but still off we go to do it again, and again… and always inside the lines and at the legal limits…and in accordance with the rules of the road…
Yes a highway is a wonderful and most curious thing.