Maybe they’re just running from the cops.
Sir: Is it true that people who drive or live their life at a fast pace are basically unhappy with their present life situation and are hopeful of getting away from it? — Aram Kaprielian, Prescott, AZ
This one we forwarded to Philosophers Corner, a little bunker across the hall from the ladies’ room here at Alice Industries. The thinker on duty was meditating at the time, so we paced back and forth outside, yelling, “Hey, hurry it up. Meditate faster!” hoping to get him in the proper mood. Later that day, he shoved his handwritten answer, reeking of patchouli, under the door. According to a surprising amount of research from sources as diverse as the National Transportation Safety Board and various universities, fast drivers are not necessarily fast livers, though they share some irritating qualities. Fast livers, adrenaline junkies, the Type A types, are insecure and egocentric, hostile, distractible, and emotion driven, with a distorted sense of time. They see life as a continual struggle against adversaries, real or imagined. Behind the wheel, they’re aggressive and angry, protected as they are by all that steel and anonymity. Fast drivers have the adrenaline component, and some of the ego and hostility, but not necessarily the full Type A constellation.
Are they escaping something? Barreling from an unpleasant today to a golden tomorrow? Possibly, but not necessarily. Some research suggests that Type A’s are born with those proclivities. Reared in the right environment, they become menaces. More than one psychologist says workaholics are more likely to be escape artists, burying themselves in tasks that give them a socially acceptable excuse to ignore emotional issues. Though I suppose screaming down the freeway, passing cars on the shoulder will take your mind off your puny little life too. Or maybe they’re just running from the cops.