#2. The Creeping Stampede of Drivers
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Just as the tides of the sea ebb and flow, so goes the fluctuation of traffic surrounding you as you drive. The droves of commuters can dwindle to a few and then ratchet up to droves again. In beautiful yet rare moments, you are the only car on the road. It's strange; it feels like everyone except you poofed and reduced to neat piles of dust with a set of eyes on top. Maybe you swerve a little, or speed, or roll your windows down and play that Kelly Clarkson song you like but are too ashamed to play with the same reckless abandon when the roads aren't your kingdom to rule. It's the driving equivalent of being in the shower -- it's a gratifying solitude.
After some minutes of basking in the soothing loneliness, two bright dots appear in your mirrors. Another driver! It's sad to see this alone-time go away so soon, but it's time to relinquish control and share the road. Hello, other driver! I kept the road nice and safe! Join me!
Then, a second pair of lights. Oh, you brought a friend. That's ... that's fine. And another pair. Oh, I wasn't prepared for so many guests. And another. OK, come o- And yet another. Did you people leap out of a time vortex? Where the fuck are you coming from?
The herd of oncoming cars barrels toward you like surfers all riding the same wave and you're a hapless dolt with arm floaties splashing along the shoreline. They close in. Are they marauders? A vicious, Road Warrior-style gang of football-padded psychos looking for fresh meat to strap to their car hoods to soften the blow of a crash? If they catch up, will they surround your car, creating a reverse Cop Trap, only to speed away seconds later, leaving your car stripped and on cinder blocks yet still traveling at 90 MPH?
"Don't mind us. Just on the way to LEGO Land!"
The panic peaks as the stampede envelopes you, reminding you of a drop of water engulfing all drops in its path as it marches down a window pane. This is it. Whoever they are, you are at their mercy. Take me, oh ye callous ignorers of speed limit signs! Consume me to appease your bitch of a god!
They pass. En masse, as if you were never there, they pass. They pass, and travel onward to the next lonely driver some miles up the road; to another person singing another Kelly Clarkson song equally as catchy as the one you hate to admit you like.
#1. The Driving Buddy
Once the excitement of a road trip has faded after about an hour, after all passengers realize the many hours to come will just be a blur of trees and pavement dotted with the occasional smear of roadkill, everyone mentally checks out and retreats into their personal bubbles of thought. A way to pass the time is to develop a driving buddy outside of the car -- a companion driving another car, moving at around the same speed, and in the same direction, maybe even with the same destination.
You don't know who these people are, their stories, or why you're both heading toward Disney World. You're going for the rides. Maybe he's traveling hundreds of miles and paying extortion-level Disney ticket prices so he can stab the guy who seats people on Splash Mountain. None of it matters. You are friends.
"I choose you, dog on scooter with groceries!"
It's basically a symptom of driving-induced insanity. You're so goddamn bored that any form of human contact will suffice. Tom Hanks talks to a volleyball in Castaway because his smeared blood on it makes it look like it has a face. You're driving a long distance, not stranded on an island. Blood-drenched sporting equipment is a little much. So, fuck it -- Hello, person who doesn't even notice I'm alive! Let's frolic and weave through traffic as if we're two birds mating in mid-air! Oh, the joy we shall have! The places we'll go! I love you, driving buddy! You're my only friend on this desolate strip of road!
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"You and me. You soaring majestically; me chomping at your dick, apparently."
And then they catch you picking your nose and the next 200 miles are a fucking nightmare.