A Road Rage ethic?
Dear Faux Travelers,
I have this clear and bizarre memory of driving over the 50th Street Bridge in Minneapolis several years ago.
I had just left Minnehaha Parkway and was making the steep climb up 50th over Interstate 35 below.
It was a lovely day—the sun had just come out strong after a heavy rain.
I looked in the rearview mirror as I climbed the hill and much to my surprise, I was being egregiously gesticulated at by two angry motorists in the car behind me.
They writhed side by side in the front seat of the vehicle trailing behind, screaming and wildly flipping birds in my direction.
I hadn’t a clue why they were so angry.
Was this really directed at me? It didn’t make sense.
It actually seemed like a theater piece. One might think they had lost a loved one in a border skirmish and were wailing for the news cameras, so wild were their gestures.
Had I not signalled my turn from Minnehaha, as one is urged to do on the Parkway?
Either way, these folks were in the throes of some serious road rage.
Eventually they hung a left and that was the end of that.
Every time I have driven over that bridge since that day, however, I've been reminded of this incident.1
Like, “Really guys?”
It didn’t really bother me at the time, because it seemed like they were doing it for their own entertainment—like they were getting off on the show of their anger, perhaps?2
I remember thinking at the time that a “road rage ethic” might be helpful in the United States.
For instance, if someone causes you to slow down or turn off your cruise control, you can raise your brows exaggeratedly at them as you pass.
If a driver does something stupid that doesn’t necessarily endanger you, you can point at your forehead as you pass them.
If a driver does endanger you through their own negligence, then maybe break out the bird or hurl an expletive in their direction— but you don’t have to.
This road rage ethic would be codified by the federal government and taught in driver’s ed classes throughout the U.S.— e.g. here’s what’s acceptable when someone cuts in line at the zipper merge, etc.3
I’m just spitballing here, obviously.
Anywho, sometime after this incident, I wrote a poem about road rage, called “Evolution Stopped.”
In 2015, I took that poem and made a lyric video of it for a class I was taking to learn After Effects at Madison College. (#motiongraphics #goWolfpack)
And just this week, I decided to create a sound track to go along with this old, mixed-up file that was gathering dust on an external hard drive, and add it to the record.
This one is weird. #spokenword
You can listen to the song in the player above, but going to the actual page will allow you to see the video that came before this sound.
The opening slate of the video says that the poem is by someone called “Haight Speech.”
At the time that I made this, my wife was urging me to stop calling myself "Faux Jean" when presenting musical ideas to the world.4
I thought for a moment that calling myself “Haight Speech” and trying to preach love and tolerance to what was then called “the tea party crowd” might be a plausible slash worthwhile pursuit.
Once again, my wife intervened and implored me not to employ this provocative moniker to sell myself to the public.
This time I did listen to her.5
But I did make this video with that name in 2015.
I’d love it if you took the time check it out.
In other news, my car and bicycle were stolen since the last newsletter.
There is a WFMU sticker on the the back as well as an Epiphone sticker. It’s a 2013 Kia Soul. Beige.
My co-workers explained that one of the downsides to living so close to the border is that my car is likely in Tijuana now and will never be recovered.
Got my fingers crossed.
Trying not to rage over here.
There was one copy of the as-yet-unreleased Faux Jean box set under the driver’s seat, so if you see this out there, that’s a clue:
My fifth-grade lizard brain imagines a scenario where the thief actually listens to the CDs in the set, and overcome by the pathos of the artist sharing his heart, decides to return the vehicle to its spot in the lot where it was last seen.6
Speaking of which, it’s Rank Strangers appreciation day at my house.
I am looking forward to listening to this new music sent by one of my favorite artists.
Ok, there’s laundry to fold.
I remain your humble servant…
Here are the lyrics:
Feces to semen
Death is inevitable
and everyone is scheming
From ethics to excrement and
Dust to dirt
Someone on this road
is bound to get hurt
Road rage is a new term
A gift from our age
From lane to lane they squirm
Always hoping to be first
Of our kind
They are the worst
And further proof that
Evolution stopped at the sperm.
Since I don’t live in Minneapolis anymore, I have fewer opportunities to be triggered in this way, thankfully.
I am still not certain that it was directed at me. I felt more confusion and wonder than anything.
Ideally, all cars would also be equipped with Ketchup Cannons that would allow an offended driver to dowse a person’s vehicle who has endangered them or someone else.
I did not take that advice, ‘cause I still can’t imagine someone buying a t-shirt that says “Matty Schindler” on it.
Perhaps the fact that we were able to celebrate our 13th Wedding Anniversary yesterday comes down to this fact? (Love ya, Babe!)
He is able to determine that the Beige Soul belonged to the singer of the songs by the resumes that had been left in the glovebox.