A Thin Yellow Line

Let’s play a little game…..shall we?  It’ll be really easy for you.  In fact, you don’t really have to do anything at all.  Come with me…………now all I need you to do is just stand here, right next to the yellow line.  Yep, right there.  You can do that, right?  Of course you can.  Now, while you stand there I’m going to bring some random people into the room.

What’s that?  Do you know any of them?

Oh, I’m not sure……..like I just finished saying, they’re random.  Try to follow along here buddy.

Okay?  Good!

So as I was saying, all you need to do is just stand there on this side of the yellow line……you remember the line that goes from one side of the room to the other, right? Why yes, it does look like those lines they put on the road to separate the lanes.  So, you’ll stand there, and at the other end of the line, on the opposite side of it, is where our random strangers will stand.  They’ll come in one at a time.

Hmmmm?  What’s that??

No, no!  Not through the door, actually, they’ll just materialize through the wall!  It’s this new technology we’ve been developing that…………………..of course they’ll be coming in through the door!  Where the heck else would they come from???

May I continue?  Wonderful.

They’ll enter through the door and once they get in the room, they’ll walk over to the X that’s on the floor there, and fire an arrow down the line.  Don’t worry though, they won’t be aiming at you, they’ll be shooting it straight down the other side of the line.

Well, yeah.  You’re right.  That’s not very safe, is it….

Which is why I was just about to give you this Kevlar vest to wear…..

Yep, it’s bullet proof!

Well…..no, we’re not using bullets, but…………..bullets go what, like 700/mph………..and arrows only go like, 75/mph….so……..it’s probably going to stop it.  Assuming of course they hit you in the chest…..

It’s not like they’re aiming for you anyway!

Okay!  Are we all set to get started?

Oh, you have a question…….what a surprise.

How many?  Well, there’s going to be 100 of them actually.  Didn’t I mention that already?  No?  Well, either way, 100 people of random ages between 16 and 80.

Sorry, what was that?

Well, no.  They aren’t “professionals” exactly……..they’re all licensed though!  I mean we make them take a test and everything, so we should be good……..of course you only take it once and then you’re good till you’re about 75.  So, some of them may have taken their last test about 60 years ago, but still, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about…..

Oh!  I should also mention it’s possible that 1 or 2 of them….might…..have had a couple of drinks before they got here.  And, some of them are so busy that they will probably be talking on their cell phones.  Important people.  You understand, right?  Don’t worry though, we make them use one of those hands free devices.  I mean, you can’t very well be shooting arrows while you’re holding a cell phone, can you?  Of course not!

Okay, let’s get this show on the road!!!

What do you say????  No, eh?

I was thinking about this the other day, as I drove home from work on a two lane road.  Cars zipping by me.  Faceless people behind the wheel.  Why is it that I would never in a million years agree to take part in the scenario above………and yet I get in my car every day and without a second thought drive 90 km/h directly towards some complete, random stranger who is driving 90 km/h towards me.

The only thing separating us is a thin line in the road, and my trust that this person I don’t know will stay on their side of the line.  I have this trust every day, despite the cell phone conversations, text messages, make-up applying and reading that I see some of them doing!

Without a second thought.

Without even contemplating it.

I mean, if I really sat down and thought about it, thought about it every time a car flew by me.  How would I ever drive?  I’d probably never get in the car again.  It’s amazing how a little yellow line can make me feel so safe.  Well sure, I’ve also got air bags and seatbelts instead of bullet proof vests.  But as with any of them, sometimes they help and sometimes there’s nothing they can do for you.

And yet I do it every day.  No questions asked.

Do I trust that when I take money out of the bank machine that it’ll give me the right amount of money?  Ummmmmmmmm, well….

Trust is a fickle business…

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6 thoughts on “A Thin Yellow Line

  1. That was a FUN read! Wow! I was so intriguied trying to figure out where it was leading…. very cool!

    And yes, to a certain extent it is about trust. The problem becomes when people do something irrational like drink or apply make-up while driving.

    Of course, my biggest peeve is the cell phone texting and calling (even handsfree). Unfortunately, sanctioned by everyone that it’s okay to do, but studies have proven that talking on your cell while driving EVEN on handsfree devices is equivalent to having a couple of drinks. We, are NOT capable of doing both: driving and talking on cell at the same time becuase it uses the same part of the brain at the same time. Oprah’s been at the forefront of this issue for some time now so kudos to her:

    http://www.oprah.com/packages/no-phone-zone.html

    So, yes, you’re analogy is GREAT. But, it’d be so much safer for all of us if we’d just pay attention to what we’re doing while driving and forget the cell, the food, the make-up…

    Kudos to you!

    1. And you know people are going to do stupid things like shave while they drive. Every time we get on the road! Yet, we trust them to not veer into us anyway? I can’t for the life of me figure out why…

      With respect to cell phones and driving, hands free or not, I couldn’t agree more. It’s not the holding the phone that distracts you, it’s the conversation with someone who has no idea whether you need to concentrate at that moment. And the way you have to listen when you can’t see body language. Making people go hands-free will do little to help IMO.

      Actually, the whole multi-tasking thing, no matter what it is, is the biggest problem. Try to multi-task doing basically any two things and then try doing those things separately. You will probably notice that you do each of them noticeably worse when multi-tasking. Yet we all think we are SOOOOO good at doing ten things at once!

  2. I log many, many miles on the road and I’ve thought about this quite a bit. I think about it constantly when I ride my motorcycle, as I am apparently invisible to car drivers.

    1. I NEVER used to think about it but, then my girlfriend got in a serious car accident. Then I was driving with her and she was so freaked out by everything and I wanted to say there’s nothing to worry about……but the more I thought about it I realized that she’s probably right to be freaked out.

      I’ve always wondered about motorcycles, and since you ride one you might know. Why oh why do all the motorcycles that I seem to see always drive right at the edge of the lane, like right on the line, instead of in the middle of the lane??? They tend to make me worry for them when I see them.

      1. My wife had a similar response after experiencing a vehicle accident. For years, she had a real problem whenever we drove and is still very nervous about other vehicles around us. As she was rear-ended by another car and pushed onto train tracks in front of an on-coming train, I don’t blame her.

        As to motorcycles on the line, I tend to keep towards the middle of the lane, but car drivers do a couple of things that may encourage motorcycle riders to stay near the line. They do not see motos and will turn right in front of them, pull out of side streets right in front of them, and treat them as if they are not there. Staying near that line gives you more visibility. It also keeps you off the gravel near the edge of the road.

        1. Now that sounds like a scary accident! My girlfriends was pretty scary, the car she was in was hit by a big rig and then pushed down the highway. It still gives me shivers.

          Thanks for the motorcycle clarification. I’ve always wondered that.

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