Personal Connections

I started thinking about the different ways I interact with people during my morning commute, after passing a school crossing guard.  The same guy is at this particular school crossing, pretty much every morning.  As I pass, we briefly greet each other.  I'm sure that the kids and parents going into the school talk to this man, but I highly doubt anyone in a car ever says anything to him.  If I ride on the bike-trail, there are regular people that I say good morning to, most of whom I don't have a clue what their name is, but certainly recognize from our many encounters.  I'm sure none of these encounters will blossom into a friendship, but it's a nice way to start the day.

I also meet up with other bike commuters, which frequently gives us an opportunity to spend more time talking.  Some of these, I've run into multiple times and can actually follow up on previous conversations, most I'll probably never see again.  Still, it helps the time pass and I have an opportunity to chat about the world as we are pedaling our way to work.   A number of the people I've met multiple times, have even pointed out where they live, just in case I ever have a problem and need some help on my ride to and from work.

These two examples of "relationships" got me wondering whether this wasn't a solution for road rage.  A car is such a good insulator from the world around you, that it's easy for people to forget there is another person in that metal bubble next to you on the road.  Do people drive differently around a convertible or a topless jeep, where you can easily see the person?  If everyone were to drive such a vehicle, or something else that allows you to easily interact with the people around you as you sit in traffic, would road rage be a thing of the past?  Would it just get worse?


  1. Mark, I really liked your observations on human encounters and connections. I have long felt that not far behind the basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing, comes the need to feel recognized and appreciated. I’ve seen children’s faces just light up when someone acknowledges them with a comment or even makes eye contact and smiles. I have observed in myself, that if I make a positive connection with someone early in the day or early in a new situation, then my sef-confidence in that situation gets a boost and the day or experience goes well. What I want most when I am with friends or family is to have at leat one conversation in which I feel we are talking about things that are relevant to both, both are really involved in the conversation and there is a sharing of feelings and ideas that are really being listened to. I have a feeling your greetings to the people you see as you bike to work make a difference in their day, and perhaps in yours as well. I have heard in situations such as abductions, if you can stay calm and establish some kind of relationship with the abductor, your chances of surviving the situation go up. As to your final questions, there is probably nothing that could totally eliminate road rage or human violence, but I can’t think of a better way than human connections to move away from it! The type of self-reflection that is occuring for you at the slower pace of riding a bike and observing nature and others seems also to be anther step! Keep it up!

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