People and Cars

A character in the popular 80’s film The Secret of My Success once said: “Something happens to a man when he puts on tie – it cuts off all the blood to his brain or something.” This soundbite collided with my neurons right about the time a guy in a BMW decided to weave his way through traffic without so much as a turn signal last week. If the blood really does stop flowing to the brain when a man puts on a tie, is the same true of anyone who gets behind the wheel of a luxury car?

Maybe it’s the sense of entitlement that a luxury car endows on the owner that convinces them that the rules don’t apply to them:

“Stop sign? Ha! Stop signs are for the proles! I’m behind the wheel of the epitomy of German-engineering – out of the way, peasants!”

God, how I loathe them.

In some cases, I wonder if the cars themselves are actually engineered to encourage this behaviour – is the turn signal level in a BMW Z4 located somewhere really inconvenient? In the glove compartment? Under the seat? In the trunk? Or did ze krafty Germans eliminate it altogether in the name of efficiency and some extra legroom?

I originally suspected the root cause was that people driving these cars felt they were somehow better than everyone else on the road. But even if that were the original cause, given the plethora of overpriced “luxury” cars on the road in Vancouver that can no longer be the reason. One of first things Ashley noticed when she moved here was the number of high-end cars, and how every car, even the non-luxury cars, were immaculately groomed. And she’s from New York – you know, the place with all the guys in suits and ties that eat currency for breakfast (little know fact: greenbacks are a surprising source of dietary fibre). So if every Thomas, Richard, and Harold in Vancouver can afford to buy (or, shudder, rent) a BMW, Porsche, Mercedes, or even Hummer, what is the source of this behaviour?

Fear not, for I have a theory…people are idiots.

Now, before you retort with “No, you’re wrong Brendon! People are rational and thoughtful beings!”, hear me out. It was only when I observed a pedestrian step into a crosswalk, looking in the opposite direction from traffic flow, traffic, I might add, that was flowing through a green light perpendicular to the pedestrian’s route, that the truth became evident. I realized that in my previous observations the luxury cars were a red herring, a distraction that prevented me from seeing the underlying cause of bad driving: people. People talking on their cell phones. People checking their makeup. People who can’t see over the steering wheel. People who were too busy trying to look cool to notice the traffic backup, only to end up in the middle of the intersection when the light changed – yeah, people are looking at you, buddy, but not for the reasons you think.

The solution is simple: get rid of the idiotic people. So the next time a pedestrian wades into rush hour traffic without the benefit of a crosswalk light, do Mr. Darwin a favour and turn that bozo into a car bra. Only you can stop idiocy.