Wednesday, September 05, 2007

People in Cars

I try to have compassion for folks in metal cages, especially in the morning when, in addition to being trapped in steel boxes, they are often also ensnared in long lines of cars, all waiting for each other and machines to tell them what to do.

So I like checking out what drivers are up to in the ongoing effort to alleviate the pain they certainly feel; you get an especially good view when you sidle up next to them. Lots of times, the person in the vehicle doesn’t even know you’re there and you can get a secret voyeuristic vantage point on their behavior; it’s like being some sort of urban anthropologist who enjoys observing the odd habits of automobilius driverus.

Today, at the traffic light on the corner of Martin Luther King Way and Yesler, at about 8:50 in the morning (I don’t mean to sound like a police report here; I’m trying to effect the tone of an objective empirical researcher); I watched a nicely-dressed woman in a well-maintained late-model Chevrolet load and light up her little crack pipe while she waited for the red to go green.

I had glanced over, as is my wont, and noticed her holding a cigarette lighter and what I took at first to be a cigarette in her lap, but then I saw her fiddling with a little baggie and dumping out a few white grains into her palm. It then became apparent to me that the “cigarette” was actually a glass tube, into which she inserted the cocaine (although I suppose it could have been meth.)

As the light changed, and we both crossed the intersection, she fired up her hit and pulled away. I didn’t observe any change in her driving behavior, but presumably things started looking different to her right away.

I felt sorry for her needing a hit so early in the day; but I can understand why, being stuck in her car.


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