NORMAN — Are you aware of the incontrovertible fact that at one time or another we all succumb to the tug of the schizophrenic self? This compelling tug and the subsequent surrender to our darker side is referred to as schizophrenic because even the most mild-mannered among us may toss all semblance of common sense and sanity out the window when it comes to traffic and/or traffic etiquette.
For example, how else can we explain the sudden and irrational act perpetrated by a driver as he or she cuts across four lanes of traffic to exit the freeway? Such a mad maneuver is usually executed when there is barely a car length open between cars.
And please, do not try to make excuses for the driver because no legitimate and rational excuse is acceptable.
When we slide behind the steering wheel, it is safe to assume we know our destination and generally what exit to take when the joyride begins. So, there should be no “Oops” moment when the driver feels compelled to endanger and tick off a considerable number of drivers who are simply trying to go from Point A to Point B in one piece.
One explanation for such behavior could be that the offending driver lives predominantly in a parallel universe where the exit in question will miraculously appear next to any lane the driver occupies — similar to a traffic wormhole — when he or she feels the urge to vacate the freeway.
Science fiction speculation notwithstanding, the fact is the driver was not paying attention until the exit loomed. Does the loony driver believe he is immortal and nothing bad can happen to him? Or, perhaps the driver is texting a grocery list or yelling at someone on the cell phone, while ignoring traffic conditions.
So, while such drivers are unleashing their inner stupid for the world to see and experience, those affected by such behavior are likely to unleash their inner dragon. Well… isn’t that the purpose of having an inner dragon?
In the case of the aforementioned traffic transgression, the unleashed inner dragon may see red as it speaks in tongues using earthy language and perhaps even questions the legitimate parentage of such schizoid drivers.
It is unfortunate but quite possible that the same driver who cut you off or sped up to prevent you from changing lanes or entering the freeway may be a nice mannerly fellow who opens doors for others and smiles while doing so. But do not be fooled by the deceptive biped.
Ignore the bumper stickers on his vehicles extolling the athletic prowess of his numerous children or the stickers which encourage everyone to “Ask me about my grandkids.” If the person in the car next to you resembles your sweet granny or a favorite uncle but stares straight ahead pretending not to see the blinking signal light on your car requesting ingress into the lane in front of them, that is no sweet person. Learn to recognize the schizoid stony stare and try to control your inner dragon.
People who jump from normal to traffic schizoid do not return to any semblance of what could be termed their senses and kindlier ways until the car is parked and they are no longer behind the wheel. Since society enjoys irrelevant and expensive studies, there ought to be a frivolous investigation into the possible correlation between traffic schizophrenia and the mild dude sliding into the driver’s seat of his car.
What happens in the brain? Does the simple contact between man and machine jumble the brain circuitry? Inquiring minds, with nothing better to question, want to know.
In the meantime, we can dream of unleashing that inner dragon, breathing a little fire and “accidentally” displaying our talents for high kicks to the unmentionable body parts of those charming traffic offenders.
Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Check out her novel “The Dionysus Connection” on Amazon or ask your bookstore to order it for you. Visit her website, www.elizabethcowan.com.