Archive for 29th June 2005

Driving Personality Test

I know its not right to jump to conclusions. To assume what a person is like from an initial impression is neither empathetic nor politically correct. But I seem to be doing this all the time, as I drive around our local area.

Here I see a black SUV, racing towards the slow-moving tractor-trailer in the left hand lane. The SUV moves to within a few feet of the rear of the truck’s payload of metal piping. The distance is frigteningly close at interstate speeds. They continue along, and when the opportunity arrives, the SUV swerves into the right lane into a barely accomidating space between two vehicles ahead of me.

Before the SUV has even moved out of my sight, I’ve profiled the driver. Early forties, male, about six foot three, wearing a white shirt and tie, his dark suit coat hanging over the passenger seat since he has to wear a suit to his civil service job for the state that he has been working at for the past fifteen years and subsequently bullied his way to a supervisory position. He’s been divorced once, the kids live with their mother because they find him too overbearing and his ex
doesn’t approve of his new wife, who is more submissive than she was and is preoccupied more with her social networks than with child raising. The driver has a naturally loud voice, but rather than having a boisterous, jolly voice, it seems to spend most of the time complaining in public settings such as restaurants or department stores. He’s a guy that found out long ago that being loud and aggressive gets him whatever he wants. And he should get it, since he believes he deserves it because he busts his ass every day at work and he deserves good service, dammit! Right now he’s racing home because his buddies are coming over for a barbeque and he’s already late because the jackasses in accounting can’t get their act together for the third time this month and he had to spend time yelling at his staff for letting this problem happen again, and he’s on his cell phone to tell his wife to start up the grill, and loudly complaining about the office.

All that, just watching him drive.

Totally inappropriate. I didn’t even see the driver to know if it was even a man or woman. But I find that this exposes human nature. None of what I thought is true, I’m fairly certain. But I formed the opinion anyway. And this problem I have has nothing to do with political correctness; it has more to do with trying not to care about the other drivers. I’m just trying to go to work, and so is he (or she). I’m fairly certain that I’ve driven in ways that caused people to make snap opinions about me. And if I heard their opinion, then I would probably consider it unfair, not representative of me at all. And if I reciprocated for them, they’d feel the same.

I’m trying very hard to suppress my inclination to profile other drivers on no more than their vehicle and driving style. They’re just trying to get to where they want to go, like me.

And I won’t guess at what kind of person they are without flagging them down and meeting them.