Last Friday evening I was alone, driving south on one of South Florida’s fine expressways, when I had the strangest moment of, for lack of a better term, empathy.
(This is notable because the word with which I would expect myself to have ended that sentence is “contempt.”)
The driver in front of me, piloting a Mitsubishi that was either silver or gold (difficult to tell which in the half-light of the expressway’s overheard streetlights), wasn’t driving at a pace that was to my liking, so I decided I would pass them. I engaged my turn signal and began merging over to the next lane. They must have sensed, from the amount of time I had spent behind them, that they were not driving at a pace that was to my liking, so at the exact moment I started moving over, they too started moving over in the same direction I was. (Of course, they did so without signaling,1 which is the South Florida Standard.) Just as simultaneously as we began them, we aborted our lane changes, as we each noticed the other’s attempt.
It was at this moment that I felt a warm, fuzzy feeling, the likes of which I almost never experience while driving down here. In that moment, I became quite aware that there was a person driving that Mitsubishi. It’s easy to forget that the other cars on the road are driven by people, especially at night when it’s not so easy to see them through their windows. But in that driver’s moment of obvious self-correction, it could not be clearer.
Also, I will not let it go unsaid: the events that unfolded made it clear that the person in front of me actually looked in their mirror before attempting to change lanes! Their careful consideration only makes me aware that they were at least a bit like me.
Around here, that’s saying something.
- That’s fine, really. Had they signaled and done the other noted things, I would not be writing this post, because I would have died that night, from some sort of shock.