Sleepwalking In Traffic

Traffic sucks.

Day after day, I sit in my car, switching between the brake and the gas pedal in a sea of vehicles that move about as slowly as our lives seem to move in that moment. I can feel a glaze falling over my face as I enter a trance-like state, fueled by monotony, mindless.

I’ve sat through traffic so often that all the days coalesce into a singular memory. I can’t distinguish one day from another. It feels like I become a sleepwalker driving a car among other sleepwalkers.

The word sleepwalker reminds me of a song – not necessarily the famed Santo & Johnny tune, “Sleepwalk,” which is such a classic that, whether we know it or not, it’s burned within our collective subconscious – but the song “Sleepwalker” from the movie her, composed by Arcade Fire, one of my personal favorite bands.

Speaking of her, that has to be my favorite movie of this decade. The story is set in the future, but really Spike Jonze is depicting modern relationships – what people are going through today.

I see, hear, and read about it all the time. People are lonely; in a world that “connects” individuals through more mediums than ever before, these mediums are the exact thing that push people away from each other. Our Facebook friends aren’t friends and our Instagram followers are just stats. Whether we know it or not, we are dehumanizing each other via cyberspace.

Dating is confusing. No one knows the rules. Are there even rules? If we text each other day and night, does that count as a relationship? What are we to make of the face to face interactions that are so different from the online exchanges? If we don’t want to meet anyone at a bar or a club and we don’t feel comfortable using these online dating platforms, what do we do?

Which brings me back to traffic. I live in Los Angeles, where everyone drives and usually alone. Everyday I am stuck moving like molasses on a freeway crammed with other solitary drivers. We’re all heading in the same direction, yet we’re going to different places. The people driving next to me are always random people whom I know nothing about, but we share a space for that moment in time.

And that’s life, isn’t it? It’s a bunch of people sharing space. We’re busy with places to go and we hardly take the time to be in the moment. We’re so caught up in our own shit that we don’t empathize or humanize in our minds the people around us. It’s like we’re constantly in the same state we’re in while driving: sleepwalking in traffic.

Hopefully, one of these days, we’ll wake up.