Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Traffic & God

Looking East From 17 St. Bridge Over 10 Freeway

In the Co-Opportunity market during my lunch break today, I over heard an interesting conversation a woman struck up with a man in the produce section. It was of a religious nature, and she professed her confidence that God was watching over her. The immediate examples she provided were how she just got her parking space (not an easy task for the driving crowd at the Co-Op) and how God protects her during near accidents while driving.

This seems to be in line with Tom Vanderbilt's point in the book Traffic that I'm reading right now. That people often perceive traffic conditions as elements outside our control, like the weather, rather than the conglomeration of many human choices.

I found the conversation rather telling of our cultural addiction to automobiles. That in contemplating God's purpose in our lives, searching for parking spaces and fear of traffic accidents come to mind. This incident made me recall the religious prayers at gas stations during this summers peak gas prices.

Automobile drivers aren't the only ones turning to God. Los Angeles and cities across the country have blessing of the bikes events. Typically these events host cyclists in urban areas and motorcyclists in more rural areas. Bikes are blessed in the hope that the rider will be granted safety from other vehicles on the road.

I feel traffic problems are very much a human condition, and as such such can be solved with human ingenuity and cultural change. However, if it is really overseen by a higher power, than may God help us all.

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