I ask a lot of questions. Too many damn questions if you ask my wife.
So I was not at all surprised at myself when this question crashed into my head the other morning while waiting through the inconceivably moronic lines that are waiting behind the average American’s seeming inability to merge. The full impact of this question rammed into my brain at 8:04 am pacific standard time:
What Does The Average American’s Inability To Merge Mean For Society At Large?
And yes, I literally mean that. I literally thought that. Cause I’m a weirdo.
But it’s not about me. it’s about all of you.
Why the hell can’t Americans merge? Literally. Why?
What is the definition of Merge:
- v. To cause to be absorbed, especially in gradual stages.
- v. To combine or unite: merging two sets of data.
- v. To blend together, especially in gradual stages.
Throw even one American driver into a roundabout traffic circle and it will come to a screeching, screaming, fist shaking stop. Ask any of your friends who live in other countries. Why will it come to a stop? Because universally, American drivers can, literally, NOT merge. They lack either the ability or the attitude to merge successfully. Yes I actually spend brain cycles thinking about these kinds of things and I don’t even partake in illegal drugs.
The same thing happens anytime you have any two lanes merging into one lane. It doesn’t matter how long of lead up warning drivers are given. They absolutely can not merge. They can come to a near total stop on the freeway on ramp and refuse to concede the merge until there is no physical room for two cars in the same physical space. At that point and that point only will the majority of American drivers finally concede and merge in the one remaining lane.
I am a fluid, smooth flowing merger. I have also never had a car accident in my life. My wife says I have a holy donut around my car. I say I merge well and flow well. When I see two or more lanes merging into one lane coming up I do the seemingly implausible: I go ahead and actually merge.
How would I define the act of merging:
- When the lane you are in ends ahead.
- You realize AND accept this heart crushing fact
- You then act on this fact
- By blending into the other lane in a smooth, speed appropriate way
- Which means you cross over into the new lane either behind or in front of another driver
- OR let someone cross over into your lane either behind or in front of you
This is the opposite of how the majority of drivers in America (well at least the 10 states I have driven in so far) apparently think of merging. Based purely on what drivers actually DO when faced with the inevitable horror of a “merge situation” It seems that this is soul-rending, life-destroying moment in our lives. This is what the majority of drivers do when they “merge”
- They steadfastly refuse to see that the lane they are in ends anywhere ever
- They blindly and resolutely refuse to accept the coming merges power over their lives
- They go all American Militia Patriot and stare straight ahead like an angry zombie
- They obstinately maintain their God-given lane position regardless of other cars, traffic bumps, or walls
- Any attempt by any other enemy combatant to infringe upon even a millimeter of their damn lane is considered a direct act of war
- They slow down to 14 RPMs above the engine stall point in order to not concede an inch of hard-won lane territory
- Eventually when all warfare and fierce independence has been exhausted and there is literally no possible way to move forward without merging in someway they reluctantly creep into the merge lane and slowly crawl forward onto the nearly empty freeway
I don’t even want to posit plumbing the depths of psychosis that this type of behavior exhumes in our collective psyche. I could wander down the psyche ward halls of thought and rant about how this type of behavior highlights our psychotic obsession with winning by making others lose. About our inability to go with the flow and accept changes in our environment. About how we have lost all connection to reality and actually believe that the entire planet must conform to our every unspoken desire and whim. I could entertain thoughts of misanthropy and anarchy and empire failing.
Instead I will just continue to force you to merge by merging when it’s needed and let you lose your ever-loving mind. As to what it means for society at large? Oh shit.