Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.

PHB

My photo
Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at www.peterbehrens.org I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Friday, January 5, 2018

How Would Jesus Drive?



HOW WOULD JESUS DRIVE?

(excepted from David Brooks' column in NYT 1/5/2017)

Over the past several years we have done an outstanding job of putting total sleazoids at the top of our society: Trump, Bannon, Ailes, Weinstein, Cosby, etc. So it was good to get a reminder, from Pope Francis in his New Year’s Eve homily, that the people who have the most influence on society are actually the normal folks... The pope called such people, in a beautiful phrase, “the artisans of the common good"...

...The Pope focused especially on driving, praising those people “who move in traffic with good sense and prudence.” As Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution points out, driving is precisely the sort of everyday activity through which people mold the culture of their community...

...If you feel perfectly fine doing a three-point turn in the middle of a busy street, blocking everybody else going both ways, you teach me that people here are selfish and feel entitled...

...We all know that driving cultures vary widely from city to city. My impression is that people in Seattle dawdle, people in Los Angeles get right up on your tail but are pretty skilled about it, and those of us from the New York/New Jersey area treat driving as if it were foreplay to genocide...

... According to Allstate, the most accident-prone drivers live in Boston; Baltimore; Worcester, Mass.; Washington, D.C.; and Springfield, Mass. (Way to go, Massachusetts!)...

...Some traffic patterns require a tradition of deference to central authority. According to The Economist, half the world’s traffic circles are in France, where they work well. In Nairobi, they are a complete disaster...

..Driving puts you in a constant position of asking, Are we in a place where there is a system of self-restraint, or are we in a place where it’s dog eat dog?

...Are my needs more important than everybody else’s, or are we all equal? ...

...In short, driving puts you into social situations in which you have to co-construct a shared culture of civility, and go against your own primeval selfishness, and it does so while you are encased in what is potentially a 4,000-pound metal weapon...

...But I’m going to try to remember one lesson when I hit the road: Though I may be surrounded by idiots, I’m potentially an artisan of the common good.

No comments:

Post a Comment