Thursday, June 19, 2014

Urban in the Suburban

I have been working the past few weeks in a Southwest suburb of the Twin Cities. I have had a chance to observe the driving behavior of the suburbanite in its natural habitat and I have to say, I have found it wanting.

What's with all the anger?

I hate love to stereotype, so, I will state the angriest species of driver is the 31-42 year old male, facial-haired, baseball-capped, driving a white pick-up truck. This particular animal likes to blow through a stop light, and not by a little, and then give you the finger. He zigs and zags from lane to lane on 494 or the Crosstown with an aggressiveness that is pathological. He acts like everyone in his way is an enemy and laws do not apply to him. Did I mention his truck is white.

Now I have long held that males between the age of 16 and 30 are mentally ill when it comes to driving. I suffered from the malady myself. But one does reach an age when driving becomes a sanctuary. It's not work, its not home. One looks forward to it. While driving you can listen to what you want, I prefer books on tape (more about that in a later post), you can listen to the radio or be alone with your own thoughts. I even know a guy who does the rosary every day on the way to work. God bless him, and I mean that, but that's too much bead work for me. The point is he is doing what he wants and I can do what I want before getting to the craziness of co-workers at work or being attacked by kids and wife at home. 

These suburban pips driving in there white symbols of generative power must have a better place to be then the truck, 494 or the Crosstown. Is it a man-cave (i.e. lower level of a split level hell). What do they do there? My guess: put on a baseball cap and play Call of World of Warcraft IX; the Legend of Duty (L.A. Pimp Edition). Or maybe its off to softball with the boys and a blooming onion at Chili's afterward. Or is it off to the Cineplex to see Marvel's Agents of DC Comics III, the Dark Pawn. Hard to say.

Either way, what is clear is they have not shed the mental illness of youth, or much else of youth come to think of it. They have no need to be alone with their thoughts, work does not stress them and family is not yet a responsibility. I wonder if these "men" will every take up the mantel of adulthood. I look around and wonder. 

They seem to be part of a generation of boy/men who watch comic book movies, dress in sports jerseys, storm off-world planets in video games and speed through life in their truck, deadened to the concern of others. Three generations ago, real boys, 18 year-olds, stormed the beaches on D-Day, fought through the Battle of the Bulge, island hopped across the Pacific and raised the flag at Iwo Jima. Hard to imagine those who came back, those whose buddy's died next to them, those who fought for others, being anything less than men. Hard to imagine the white pickup driver could understand. 

To one, the rosary was comfort in the dark. To the other its, at best, a rear-view mirror decoration.

1 comment:

  1. I hope at some point you address the problem in St Paul of people stopping in the left lane at a stop light and then waiting for the light to turn green THEN they turn on their left turn signal and wait for traffic to clear. St Paul drivers never turn their turn signals on approaching the intersection, they always wait until the last second. By that time, you have pulling up behind them thinking they are going forward. Love the mini-van pic as your header. Owned one of the same color, but with grey molding at the bottom. One of the most utilitarian vehicles ever made.