English Majors Are
by Jarad Johnson
*Note- Before we begin, you may be wondering, "Why is there a random picture of a cat stuck here? Well, allow me to explain. Cats are, by nature, rather irritable and, shall we say, ornery. In this post, I am rather crotchety myself, and since cats and I share a kinship in that regard, I felt it was appropriate. You may commence with reading this post now!*
On the days that I’m not working my regular job, I sometimes drive for DoorDash. Every single time, I feel like I’m taking my life into my own hands. I’ve scantily avoided multiple wrecks, most of them caused by some plebeian texting instead of driving. And every time this happens, I think, “Astonishing, isn’t it, that you aren’t the only person on the road?” This is a problem, that in my view, stems from pedestrians walking down the street looking at their phone. I know a story of someone my age who was holding their phone facetiming someone and then was shocked when they found themselves wrapped around a pole. Hope that conversation was worth it for them! Before I was terrified of them given me a viral plague, I sometimes let random people run into me. Just to make a point to them that there are other people around, you self absorbed twits!
But with an occupation like Door Dash, you’re almost required to fuss with your phone while driving, accepting orders and whatnot (because there is a time limit on accepting an order! What fun!) Let’s just say that this is not a job that I am exceptionally qualified for. I am not the world’s best driver by any means. I feel though, that this is good practice. There are those drivers who take it for granted that they will make it out alive- and usually they’re the ones almost killing the rest of us! You’d think that by now we’d have come up with a better form of transportation. A hundred thousand years of humanity, and all we’ve got to tote ourselves around are big hunks of metal powered by a highly flammable liquid. What could go wrong?
Driving requires you to trust that the people around you care about your wellbeing. Let me tell you something. They don’t. They care about getting where they’re going, responding to text messages, passing the person they think is going too slow (me, because speed limits exist), and getting out of traffic. I can almost guarantee that most drivers don’t recognize the fact that their reckless behavior might end very badly. We are so caught up in ourselves sometimes, I think, that we are like horses with blinders on. Except in this case the horse is a car and there’s probably a bigger one about to run into you! I truly am convinced some people have a death wish. As Frodo said, “Stay off the Road.”
Now, do I sound like a very old person complaining about, “the youths today?” Well, yes, but I still think it’s a valid point. But anyway, we’ve arrived at the subject of this post, which is why English Majors or literary people in general are not particularly inclined to be great drivers. You see, we are easily distracted people. Ask Julie sometime about the Great Egg Boiling incident sometime and tell me we’re not easily distracted. Or that time when I walked out the house wearing a leather jacket, scarf, and sandals? Literary people are always in their head, I’ve found, and often not exactly aware of their surroundings. I’ve stopped a whole line of traffic so I wouldn’t hit a bird. You may find that sweet, but I’m not exactly inclined to die for a pigeon. “Man dies while trying not to hit bird” is not how I want to be remembered. Which begs the question: why are pigeons only found in cities? Do they consider themselves to be urban animals? Are robins or blue jays too hoity toity to live under bridges? These are the important questions I think about while driving, and subsequently this is why people are hesitant to get in my car.
Here I am complaining about people on their phones, and yet I would not know how to get anywhere without mine. However, a word of warning: sometimes GPS systems don’t recognize one-way streets, and unless you’d like to be like me, narrowly avoiding a UPS truck while trying to get to a supermarket (in which I lost a hubcap and ended up in a stranger’s ditch, MIGHT I ADD). I guess my navigation system thinks I might save on mileage if I plow through a field. And hey, while we’re at it, I’m sure there’s a house someone doesn’t need. Why don’t we just drive through that and save them the trouble of having to decide whether or not to move? You save on time, and they get a new door!
I suppose the one positive thing about English majors and driving is that at least I have something to write about. There’s always some random person behaving poorly on the road, and as a writer, people behaving badly gives me a lot of material to work with! In that respect I should be grateful…..I think. We’ll see how it goes-if I survive!