More Human Than Human

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I hardly ever work at the same desk two days in a row. Once I drop the kids off for school, I decide whether to exit the lot toward the left or right, then aim for a charming place with wifi. It’s not that my office is all that bad — I simply like variety.

I can only drive in one of two directions and, regardless which one I choose, I find myself in some line of traffic. And in that traffic, I’ve started recognizing people I see every day. We don’t talk. There’s no handshake. It’s not like we’ve technically ever met. We just happen to be in the same dense traffic at the same time on a regular basis.

I know them purely by the car they drive and their driving skills (or lack thereof). Some are sillier looking than others. Some are polished and put together. Some weave this way and that or have a penchant for merging riiiiiight at the last second. There’s quite a bit of human-like traits and interactions even though we’re separated by metal and glass.

Traffic annoys me, especially when I’m not expecting to hit it. And so you might see a grumpy Geoff behind the wheel moving forward with glacial expedience.

But that’s different now that I have familiar faces — err, faceplates? — on the trail. I like them a lot more than when they were inanimate metal heaps sitting on four wheels. I give them space from behind. I’ll create a big opening for them to merge. I will pretty much do anyone a solid because there’s a greater sense of belonging and togetherness that comes with this brand of familiarity.

I’m unsure if my mind actually distinguishes the person from the vehicle. It’s no matter either way. What tickles me is the ability to care for and relate to others without verbal or physical cues.

Perhaps Rob Zombie was more prescient than we ever knew when barking out the lyrics to “More Human Than Human.”

✏️ Handwritten by Geoff Graham on May 16, 2024

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