QOTD: Carrying Neurotic Baggage in That Trunk?
It’s normal to worry about — or at least give a passing though to — the possibility that the airliner you’re about to step onto may, in fact, never reach its destination. The same goes for thinking, hoping, or praying that a road trip you’re about to embark on goes well, with no cataclysmic incidents along the way. It only becomes a problem if these concerns dominate the mind, leading to paralyzing fears and a determined avoidance of certain activities that negatively impacts your life. At that point it’s time to see a psychologist.
We’ve talked in the past about our worst driving fears, the most obvious being the accidental running over of a human being. Understandable! But sometimes, despite our fearlessness behind the wheel, we bake into our daily lives strange little habits, performing these rituals unconsciously until a friend or family member calls us out on our neurosis.
It can be literally anything. For example, your author, even when driving around with a full tank, sometimes wishes the needle was at three-quarters or a half in order to save a measly buck after spotting a station with a lower pump price. A thought appears — if I could burn off some of that pesky fuel, all of those those sweet, sweet savings could be mine! (There wouldn’t be any.)
Perhaps that’s a bad example. The other day, a colleague mentioned how he witnessed an Uber driver in an automatic transmission car bump the vehicle into neutral at each stoplight, setting the parking brake at the same time. The general consensus was that the driver was used to driving a stick shift in traffic, possibly in a foreign country. Still, who does that? At the very most, bump the shift lever into neutral and just keep your foot on the brake (I’m guilty of this sometimes).
Oh, but our various manias run deep. Here’s one that’s a little more to the point. I don’t like drive-thrus, and I don’t use them. No, not because of the land-use stuff (read Jalopnik for a screed against that), but because sitting in a drive-thru lane, once that F-150 has cosied up to your rear bumper, leaves you vulnerable.
To a robbery or some sort of attack, you ask? Nope, though that could be a concern to some folks. No, it leaves you, assuming you’re in a normal car with limited ground clearance, vulnerable to Armageddon. When the big one comes, whatever it is (aliens?), you need to move — and fast. The soccer mom or hipster dad in the crossover in front of you will probably freeze in fear and confusion, and backing up isn’t in the cards if you’re sandwiched in a line of vehicles. Nor will you get very far after tearing off your oil pan in a failed attempt to mount that extra-tall curb bordering the lane.
Great. Now you don’t stand a chance of making a break for the hills to live a solitary life of regretful murder and despair, subsisting on a diet mainly of rainwater, dead squirrels, and grubs.
That’s why I don’t like using the drive-thru. I park my car like an upstanding individual and march proudly into the store, waiting patiently in an excruciatingly slow line caused by the fact that impatient drive-thru patrons get first dibs. The fact that I’m saving a microscopic sliver of the environment by doing so is merely a bonus.
So, B&B, what’s your weird car habit, if you want to call it that? What’s something you do, feel, or believe that goes against prevailing wisdom and common sense?
[Image: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars]
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