A Meditation on Driving and Roadkill

I’m taking my driver’s test soon and so my dad’s been making me drive everywhere as practice. And after a few days of constant driving, I realize that I don’t really enjoy it. I mean, sure, it gives me a sense of freedom and I can’t wait to have a driver’s license so I can go places by myself. The autonomy that comes with being able to drive is great and I look forward to that.

But the act of driving itself? I’m not sure I like it all that much. Maybe it’s because I’m still a beginner, but I don’t understand what’s great about sitting in a cramped box of metal and glass, breathing in your dad’s farts every 30 minutes. He has dietary problems, okay?

But people say, you can sightsee while driving! And you can go so fast; it’s fun!

Look, pick one or the other. It’s kind of hard to do both at once. Sure you can look around and see all those beautiful blurs but you have to do so while trying to avoid other giant hunks of kinetic force that are being steered by many categories of people, most of which are unfit to do so. Here are just a few. 1) Teenagers who believe themselves immortal with no concern over how mortal I am. 2) Old people who can drive perfectly fine if they wanted to, but don’t really care if they die at this point because their children don’t visit and they’re tired of only eating oatmeal and chicken noodle soup. 3) That woman over there who’s eating a five-course meal while steering with her knees. 4) That man over there who’s masturbating while steering with his knees. 5) Jews. 6) Speed maniacs who drive like assholes because they have a small penis. Or a…loose vagina? What’s the equivalent? Whatever. 7) Other people who are new to this whole driving thing like me, who are the most terrifying out of everyone.

What? What are you talking about? I just mentioned Jews because there are a lot of them around where I live, not because they’re bad drivers or anything. There aren’t even any stereotypes about Jews and driving. Why do you assume the worst? You guys sicken me.

Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is that driving is stressful for me. I’m assuming that the stress decreases once I’m more comfortable behind the wheel of my death machine that can easily kill an entire family of four if I was so inclined to do so. I heard driving is relaxing for some people. So I’m just waiting until that day comes.

In the meantime, I want to talk about something else that I noticed. I was driving the other day when I realized that we had passed three or four dead deer over the course of a little less than an hour. And I could see that we were about to pass another one, a mess of twisted bones and rotting flesh that I was completely removed from by the virtue of being in a speeding box of metal and glass. For a moment, I could see the large swaths of dried blood on the road in front of me from when the deer was dragged off to the side. Then it was all behind me.

I’ve seen dead deer before, of course. Hell, we almost hit one ourselves several times. (Meaning, we almost hit multiple deer one time each, not just one deer multiple times. Just to be clear.) And none of those dead deer made me pause except in perhaps revulsion. “Ew, a dead animal, how horrible it is for me to witness a violent, painful death like that. Why does this happen to me.”

Maybe it was just the sheer number of dead deer I had seen that day. I can take maybe one or two mutilated animal carcasses per day, but definitely not four. That was just too much.

It’s not like I’m against killing animals. In fact, I’m very comfortable with it. I’ve read “Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “Eating Animals” and I’ve seen a number of videos about factory farming. And yes, it’s horrible and animal cruelty is wrong and something must be done. Just, you know, not by me. Meanwhile I’ll enjoy my steaks and hamburgers, thank you very much.

I know, I’m a horrible person.

Maybe that’s it though. Maybe it’s because the death of these deer are simply so wasteful. According to my dad, you’re not even allowed to take the deer you hit with your car home and eat it. It’s illegal. You have to leave it on the side of the road to rot and call some government worker to clean it up. And that’s just stupid. I wouldn’t know where I would fit a deer on my 2003 Honda Civic if I killed one with it, but I’d like the option.

Or maybe roadkill just reminds me of the mindless violence that only humans are capable of. No other creature treats death in the way that we do. Killing things and throwing them away, killing things and complaining about how much it hampers our lives, killing things by accident. It’s kind of disturbing if you really think about it.

More likely, I’m probably just stressed from all the driving, which is making me think morbidly depressing thoughts. I’m going to cheer myself up with a steak.


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