about cars. You know, those giant machines of destruction that we pretend are for transportation? Yeah, those.
Have you ever noticed how being in a car turns you into an unaccountable rage monster? Like, someone cuts you off in traffic, and you yell terrible things like, “WHAT THE BALL-BURN ARE YOU THINKING YOU SHIT NUGGET?” and threaten to do all sorts of NC-17 things to their mother. What is that about? Why do we do that?
I teach at a university that lacks enough parking for its faculty. So I usually show up an hour early, because I’m a loser, and wait, parked in a place I’m not allowed to park, until someone comes and gets in their car and leaves. Usually I park on the side of the lot and wait, but people had left their cars there, so I was stationed in the white crossed-off zone of doom area (Why do they do that? Why?). I was the first car there to wait. And then suddenly there were like six cars there waiting.
I should get the first spot that opens up, right? I mean, I was there waiting the longest. IT’S ONLY FAIR AND I’M A YOUNGEST CHILD AND I GET WHAT I WANT.
Well, all of us are parked there waiting, when another car pulls into this giant lot and, lo and behold, some very old professor dude starts walking to his car. And this car that JUST got into the lot followed him and pounced on that spot.
And I was all like, um, WHAT AND THE ACTUAL FUCK. I was journalling at the time, and that’s exactly what I wrote. I started writing furiously about what a dickbag this guy was when clearly there were cars waiting, and I was getting all huffy and ready to rip my shirt off hulk-style. (Now that I think about it, had I done that, I might’ve gotten the spot after all.)
Then a man started walking in, and I was like MINE ALL MINE ALL MINE and started backing out of my spot. Then the car in the nonspot across the aisle from me started to do the same thing. I backed up faster and honked my horn at them and was about ready to get out and have a rumble in the bronx. If by the bronx I mean way-far-out-Long-Island. Sans Jackie Chan. So, like, a street fight.
I followed the man only to see a woman in a car waiting at the end of the aisle. She was going to take that spot, but she was pulled too far forward. So I started stalking the man like a cheetah stalks it’s prey. Except I was in a vehicle, and I was about four feet away from him.
Look, I’m not proud of any of this.
And then he got in his car and the woman had backed up enough so she could take the spot. I turn on my blinker and start waving my arms furiously, signalling that if she takes this spot I will not hesitate in turning this parking lot into a wrestling ring. And the lady, bless her soul, must have smelled the rage BO emanating from my pores because she backed up and let me have the spot.
After I parked, I went up to her window and thanked her brusquely, like she had still done something wrong, explained that I had been waiting twenty minutes, and told her to have a great day.
I walked away from my car and thought, “seriously, if that dumb bitch up there had gotten out before me, I would’ve fought her.”
And I realized that I was saying horrible things about someone I had no idea about. That person could win a Nobel Peace Prize someday. Or be the best mother ever. Or tutor 400 kids and help them achieve their dreams. As I started walking to my building, I began to laugh. I realized that the entire time I was worked up about something completely unimportant. I had gotten super territorial. I wanted to destroy those people.
And then my theory was formed: What if people become douchebags in their cars because of some weird biological wiring? Think about it. For thousands of years people had to fight other people in order to survive, and then they started using animals to aid in their fights, and then eventually they got on horses and used those to fight.
What if when someone cuts us off, or takes our parking spot, or rear-ends us because they’re too busy using Tinder to drive like a real person–what if those things make us angry because it’s a challenge to our autonomy (HA. A pun)? We’re territorial, we’re using our beast to control our territory, and someone’s going to come up and mess with that?
Then I started wondering about what a magnificent place the world would be if there were no cars, and we could rely on, like, transporters from star trek. And I realized that, even then there would be those people that would jump into it right in front of us and we’d come out with our head attached to their shoulder and their arm sticking out of our ass.