Waiting for the light to change, I was surprised to recognize the license plate of a car from earlier in my commute. I wondered how many of these cars routinely had the same commute as mine, and yet we all remained oblivious day after day.
Society had taught us not to care. Enclosed in our metal boxes, all those anonymous commuters, almost inhuman, depersonalized, passing each other without giving a damn about whether the person in that blue Honda Civic was male or female, entry level or retired, heading to work or a doctor's appointment, preoccupied or murderously angry or cheerful after morning sex.
I remembered walking through our neighborhood in Austria as a kid. Everyone I passed was expected to exchange a mutual "Grüß Gott!" Greet God. The assumption being that surely they must be religious, the only question was whether they were Roman Catholic or Lutheran, but either way they would greet God and eachother. Not that these strangers actually cared about one another either. But at least there was an expectation of pretending to care when one passed eachother on foot, or else there would be offense.
No one gets offended if they are not noticed in their car during their daily commute. It is time we spent alone by ourselves, while sitting between several cars in multi-lane bumper to bumper traffic. How would they react if I smiled and waved at them as we passed. How many drivers would notice? How many would wreck their brains trying to remember where they knew me from? How many would feel invaded in their personal space of their car during their commute where they had the reasonable expectation of being all alone?
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