Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Driving and Horns

Driving an automatic car is like eating. You just do it without thought. It is like playing a video game except you don't need three extra lives coz you're careful. You've only got one life. Don't risk it by being a crazy driver.

Driving in America feels somehow simpler, easier, safer. There is an order to the driving that in China was hard to figure out. American people basically follow the laws. It feels ordered and safe like we are sheep being herded by a border collie. In China, the roads are a mess of confusion and noise making it impossible even after two years to make sense of the number of people going their own chaotic way.

Most of the time while living in China, I felt that the people are less individualistic following a mass order of things except when it comes to the road. In the USA, a major feature of our mass following culture is our cars. We may diverge from the mass with our individualistic thoughts, fashion, and politics but when it comes to cars we are united in our experience. In China, I feel that there is a mass following of fashion, politics, and thinking, a traditional culture where students' essays reflect one unified thought rather than something original or controversial; however, when driving, walking, or biking there is no mass order. Instead there is a huge population each taking their own mathematical random walk. Being on the road is hard to predict. In America as a driver I feel safer with the expected regularity of the roads.

What do you think the original purpose of a car horn was? They were used as warning devices. In America, they are used as "I'm mad at you." In China, they are used as warning devices. I feel a bit scared on bikes in America. In China cars will honk to let you know that they are there. In America, they silently pass and scare me. On a bike, I like being warned by noisy horns. On American roads, I feel a bit unsafe because of the silent moving killers.

1 comment:

M said...

my brothers freaked out with the Chinese horns when we went on a bike ride in Zhangye, we had to shorten our ride. I was surprised, so I guess I'm used to it too...