“Yes, you are the center of the universe, if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be here, so, as the middle of space, and everything floating in it, it is your job to know, that the emptiness is just emptiness, that the stars are stars, and that flying rocks hurt.”
I was driving home from San Antonio the other day, I live in a rapidly growing Texas Hill Country town just outside of SA, and I was cruising in relatively light traffic on a stretch of I-10 that’s been under heavy construction for a good while now, and will continue to be under heavy construction for a good while longer—I’ve read comments, on Facebook, from people whom have presented themselves as having driven in some of the worse roads in the country, and that this particular stretch of I-10 is the--now I’m quoting—“single most dangerous stretch of highway they have ever confronted,” although, really, that’s neither here nor there—I started thinking about the way people drive, and the way people live their lives—I suppose that’s a relatively heavy musing while cruising home one afternoon after a lighthearted conversation over coffee—everybody has so, very sharply concluded that they are the only veritable soul existing in the immediate reality, which, ‘of course,’ is the only relevant presence, at this particular moment in time: the one that you presently exist within...
Because, you are the center of the universe; there has never been an experience an incident that you have not been at the absolute center of...
You have, of course, played witness to experiences: Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, 9/11, Robert Redford’s light shattering home run, Facebook is introduced to college campuses in 2004, etc...
still even witnessing each, as it was experienced by you, has occurred, and will continue to occur, only, within the compass of your experience. And, respectively, it is inherently impassable to understand or relate to the experience of another human being without the partiality of the world through your eyes.
With that said, you can, however, know, without a shadow of a doubt, that each person does, inherently, have their own experiences (your individual experience is, if nothing else, proof of that), and that, although it may differ by how you were raised, where you were raised, whether you’re conscious of how your experiences affect and change you, etc., we are all living by the same sets of guidelines, and within the same template as those that are immediately surrounding us, in our western society.
So, how is it so simple for so many people to behave as if their experience is more important than the experiences of another? The unsettling default setting of behaving as if everybody else was just in our way, whether literally or metaphorically. When, in actuality, the routines, the motions, the “day-in, day-out,” of our unspoken contract of conduct is, essentially, exactly the same for each and every one of us.
I don’t notice all this as glaringly obvious more so than when driving, and most specifically on Texas highways, because, for the sake of this particular example, every couple of miles there are signs posted that read,
"LEFT LANE FOR PASSING ONLY"
...and, yet, every couple of miles I will, inevitably, find myself passing some idiot on the right because they are, apathetically, cruising in the left lane (Why this bothers me on a pragmatic scale is, of course, baffling and negligible; I’m not particularly acetic about complying to aimless tenets, still there is something to be said about decorum, right? Or did that wane with the subtle, yet amiable history of a time when sexual innuendos were still jovially enigmatic? Yes, cruising in the left lane has been a reoccurring theme for me, I drive a lot, and it's the most promising repetitive metaphor for life that I regularly encounter).
But, and even more so, people behind the wheel of a car, conduct ones self as if they are collaborating with a thingamabob and not a person, in another vehicle. Once we’ve set foot behind the wheel of a thingamabob we, quite agreeably, slip on the most overworked of our guises’ and whisk about as if we are unaffected by even our own cordial of experiences.
(Not everybody is out to get you; do you want to know how I know this?
...are you out to get everybody?
...my guess, is that you said something along the lines of, “Not, really. No.” There you have it...
...the most glaringly obvious truth about whether everyone is bound to certain behaviors is whether or not you are; and, argumentatively, the fact that you can name people like Ted Bundy, Ed Gains, Edward Snowden, Kermit the Frog, Michael Scott, and a small handful of others in a world of 8 billion people is proof only that there are exceptions, and you’re probably not one of them).
What I have learned to be equally as glaringly obvious and true as the above statement is that if you don’t want to live your life in the same default setting as just about everybody else, treating people like they are obstacles simply to maneuver, then you’re going to have to become aware that you’re behaving that way, you have to learn how to catch yourself in the moment, and it’s not hard there are people out there who are indirectly helping you: when you’re cruising in the left lane and someone passes you on the right (literally and metaphorically, speaking), just switch on your blinker, and change lanes..
I have written both music, and advice columns that covered a wide variety of topics, such as: relationships, communication, lifestyle, business, and life (coaching)