June 18th, 2012
As I was sitting at the intersection this morning, waiting while the good citizen in front of me tried to remember which pedal to push to make his wheeled cage move forward, I perused the bumper stickers and vanity plates proclaiming his fandom for various sports teams and thought about what herd animals we humans are, always seeking some group to grant our allegiance in contradistinction to all other groups. Why this allegiance rests so rarely with the species as a whole and so often with some more-or-less arbitrary subset thereof, what Kurt Vonnegut called a granfalloon, is a mystery for greater Darwinians than me to figure out. It just is that way.
I recalled an occurrence at that same intersection the day before. Due to repaving work, two lanes narrowed to one just to the east of the crossing, a right turn from where I was. At this busy commuting hour, the merging traffic moved sluggishly, when it moved at all. If you wanted to turn right, you were S.O.L. I was among those who wanted to go straight through. Instead, I sat through cycle after cycle of the traffic lights, as people drove into the intersection from the left and were stopped there by the unmoving traffic to the right, creating a blockage. When the cars ahead of them crept forward a little bit, they might make it out of the crossroads, there to be replaced by the next idiot who couldn’t wait for room to open on the other side before entering and who was consequently caught there when the lights changed. And so it went.
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