Many years back there was a movie in which motorized vehicles took on human characteristics and began attacking people.
Big semi rigs were chasing humans down the highway, crashing into buildings and dealing carnage at every turn. It was even hokier than West World where robot cowboys came to life and were gunning down visitors at an amusement park.
The movie involving the vehicles probably opened at drive-in theaters. It was a B-minus movie at best.
I ran across both of these flicks not long ago in the wee hours. And the one about the vehicles did cause me to think about a phenomenon of sorts that I have often observed. Even though cars and trucks don’t take on human qualities, it seems that they have the power to cause some kind of Jekyll and Hyde transformation when some drivers get behind the wheel … they will react in ways they never would otherwise. As my friend The Earl of Stumpworth by the Ochlocknee once noted, vehicles in traffic have an unexplained power that can make a preacher cuss.
See if you recognize what I’m talking about here:
You are about to back out of a parking space. A driver a block away sees you and speeds up just to make you pull back into that parking space. Often all he has to do is change lanes to allow you to back out. And he could always slow down and be courteous in that moment. But no, it’s as though he will get a gold star to put on his refrigerator if he can force you back into that parking space. And if he fails, he has to spend a week with his mother-in-law.
Then you find yourself sitting at a traffic light. It turns green, but because you don’t slam the pedal to the metal and leave smoke and rubber on the street, the driver behind you blows his horn. And so what will the other driver do with those extra three seconds.
Now one that really gives me the heebee jeebies is that guy who flies up to the stop sign at an intersection and slams on brakes at the last split-second.
I’ve learned never to assume that this person is going to stop, especially since the onset of cell phones and texting.
And how about that driver who parallels you when you want to merge? He won’t back off and let you cross into his lane nor will he speed up and get on ahead of you so you can merge. That’s another driver vying for a gold star. Forcing you to make a turn and go around the block makes his day. He won! In his mind he struts around narcissistically like a professional wrestler. “Yea I’m baaad!”
Just a few days ago I was buying gas, and a lady parked adjacent to me appeared to be unconscious behind the wheel of her car. I asked if she was all right. So did another observer. She came to and insisted she could drive. We insisted she could not. During that brief conversation she fell asleep again. Just dropped right off between a subject and predicate.
After we woke her up again, she grabbed the wheel, adamant that she would drive away. I was about to take her keys away when a third person agreed to drive her home in her car if someone would follow and return her to her car. That scenario worked out.
I hate to think of what might have happened if the three of us had not gotten involved.
Some people will insist they can drive even though the rest of the world is voting against them at that moment.
Now I don’t really think cars have power over people. But such a concept would make a much better movie than a log truck chasing someone across a corn field.
(Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)