Attitudes: IC Machine Versus Human Power


I was having a discussion today at the water cooler about people’s driving skills (or lack of them) and had this thought that I’m writing about today.  It also involves a few recent experiences, one with a car yesterday, and a power boat incident I wrote about  a few weeks ago.

People act differently when they are under human power and encounter other humans.  This can be walking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, cross country skiing, jogging and so forth.  My experience is people are nicer when they are doing activities under their own power and are not relying on the internal combustion engine for motion.

I encounter rude and inconsiderate people when they use  power boats,  jet skis,  cars,  snow mobiles,  motor cycles,  four wheelers.  Is this that these people are different than people that use their own muscles for motion?  Please, looking for some comments there on what you think about this.

I think people become different people when they have a throttle or accelerator to propel them, and sometimes allow them to quickly to take flight from their own stupid actions and inconsideration.  By their actions with an engine they convey that they are more important than you, and have to be ahead of you for some reason.  Be this taking off from a stop light, passing on the right to get ahead in a back-up, be the first through a one way channel on a river, on a snowmobile trail, whatever.  Am I the only one that thinks this way?  A young person,  short, thin, and homely becomes older over 6′ and 200 lbs of body builder, good looking behind the wheel of a car.  The gender does not much matter, however men I think are worse in general.

Contrast that to the nice friendly people you encounter paddling, walking, cross country skiing and so forth.  Are these people different, or does the act of physical exertion and being outdoors make people less stressed and more friendly? The other thought is if they are not rude if  there is no fast get away.  I’m not sure what it is, or maybe it is all of the above reasons.

Being on a machine I think is like writing an email versus speaking to someone, you act differently thinking you are protected by the machine.  When you are removed from direct human contact people just act differently , maybe more macho.  There appears to be some big disconnect in thought processes  when driving a power boat that people have to cut across your bow, rather than slowing down (heaven forbid) or going behind you at a good distance, it is even worse if they are pulling a skier or a tube.  For some reason the throttle can not be pulled back or steering to change course.

My solution is people need to spend much more time using their own power rather than burning fossil fuel.  Maybe it has nothing to do with gasoline, but more of a vehicle issue.  I’m sure people in electric cars are just as rude on the road, there is just not enough of them yet to form an opinion…

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