Mean Streets

I’m learning to drive. All over again. My years of experience driving in Canada are not helping. It’s like when you join the Marines and they break you down to build you back up again as a fighting machine. Only here it’d be a driving machine. And a military comparison isn’t really that apt, because the military is about discipline and rigid order. Driving here can be best described as functioning chaos. I have no idea how it works, but it does. When I am driving, I am scared shitless. Almost paralyzed with fear by the unfamiliar dangers everpresent, and in that sense maybe it is like active duty in the military.

My years of experience operating a motor vehicle in Canada are very unhelpful here. I am locked into a dogma of following traffic lines and expecting other drivers to do the same. Not expecting motorini to whizz by either window at any time, not expecting a car to suddenly decide to cut across three lanes of traffic at a stop light and then do so. Often. But the big mistake is believing that it’s totally unbridled chaos here. I know it’s not. I can see it’s not (when I’m not driving).

There’s a brilliant disregard for rules of the road guided by passionate self interest. Everybody has this mindstate and so it works. It’s a beautiful system actually, and it works quite well. But only if you have that mindset as well. All rules can be broken, except the ones that can’t. And the ones that can’t are not written down, nor are they signed anywhere. It’s a complicated, confusing death-defying mess for me. But I love the beauty of drivers doing whatever they want instead of being falsely constrained by unnecessary traffic rules. The only thing is i’m having trouble unlearning what I know, and accessing this Zenlike state of accepting all, following my primal instincts, and just going with the flow.

2005-12-17T12:35:00+00:00 December 17 2005|