Thursday, February 01, 2007

The truth about my trust issues

Somebody told me, a long time ago, that he thought I had trust issues. At the time I told him he was nuts. "I trust people in general," I said, "it's just you I don't trust."

Today, though, I'm thinking he may have been right. I certainly seem to be less willing to trust than ninety per cent of the folks who share the interstate with me.

I don't trust that the person in front of me won't have to slam on her brakes when she encounters an obstacle in the road, so I stay several car-lengths behind her, just in case. Most drivers, it seems, have way more trust in their hearts than I do. They have so much trust in their fellow drivers that they follow them at 70 mph with no more than one car-length in between. I used to call that stupid, but maybe it's always been trust and I just haven't recognized it.

The driver behind me today trusted me implicitly. I could tell because he talked on his cell phone as he tailgated me, obviously obliviously having the utmost confidence that I wouldn't brake suddenly. In my rearview mirror I could see his lips moving and his left hand to his ear. He must have been steering with his knees at one point, when he leaned over to his right and appeared to be adjusting his radio or something. I'm a cautious driver, but this man couldn't have known that about me. I used to call that idiotic, but it must be blind trust.

Another example: the guy in the pickup truck who floored his accelerator as he pulled away from Burger King and crossed the road right in front of me, causing me to hit my brakes so I wouldn't smash into his king cab. There was a time (yesterday, the day before, and many days before that) that I would have called that guy an effing imbecile, but that was before I was enlightened. That jerk guy trusted me. Wow!

To be honest, I'm just not that trustworthy. I wish I were a perfect driver, but because I know I'm not, I'm probably projecting my own shortcomings onto the rest of the drivers on the road. I need to be more trusting, like everybody else is.

This change might take a while. In the meantime, I hope those people aren't offended when I drive behind them and leave some space between us.


  1. I also think about how we drive "on trust" so much of the time and how we probably shouldn't. I appreciated your essay, Velvet.

  2. Oh Velvet, such timing you have. My dearest friend was ploughed into by a teenager on Monday. It seems my friend trusted that people would actually stop at a red light. This teenager didn't.

    I really feel we can only keep our eyes on the road and hope for the best!

  3. Yes but those trusting folks will always be ever so helpful by filling in the space for you! I know because I share the same trust issues...Carmon

    Oh dear...I will never figure out what those word verification letters least they give you a few tries. Another trust issue I think. ;)

    Okay, here goes attempt number two.

  4. I must have your same problem with trust when it comes to other drivers. Some People's Children!

  5. I never thought about it like that. Whenever I keep the recommended distance between my car and the one ahead, someone always cuts in front of me. I wonder if I would make any progress at all if I had to continually slow down to avoid hitting these "line-cutters". I might wind up back home.

    I've often been tempted to slam my brakes just for the hell of it, to see the reaction of the multitasking moron behind me.

  6. This really made me smile! I've sure noticed the drivers here are a lot more 'trust'ing folks than I am!

  7. Thank you! Thank you!

    I'm sitting here in anticipation of an unpleasant phone call and very much needed that little shift in my world view!

    Viva la Velvet!

  8. This made me laugh!! I DO call them effing imbeciles, because they are. What really scares me are the drivers that drive around with the bumper sticker that says "NO FEAR". What the heck?? Fear is not a bad thing, it keeps you safe!

    P.S. Ordinary Janet, first paragraph...VERY funny!!

    P.S.S. I wish spell check would accept the word effing!

  9. Driving back from NW Ar on guy with a trailer scared us to death as he flew around us on the thick ice about 65 mph and talking on his phone...2 hours later we saw his mangled truck on the edge of I40..Velvet..I did chuckle a little but felt immediately bad..for being glad he had wrecked, but he did deserve it.

  10. Annie, I was more relaxed about driving until our traffic got so heavy with the post-Katrina population swell. I used to brag about the polite drivers in the Baton Rouge area--always waving one another ahead, making it easy to merge. I see much more aggression among drivers since the roads became so crowded.

    Creekhiker, I hope your friend is okay. I'd change the last line of your comment to read: "I really feel we can only keep our eyes on the road and assume that every other driver in our vicinity is capable of doing one stupid thing that could kill us."

    Carmon, LOL, you're absolutely right. I've noticed that some people whip into that space in front of me as if I'd saved it especially for them.

    Jewellybeano, there seem to be enough of us non-trusting folks to form our own club. It might be fun to think about what motto we'd put on our club T-shirts.

    Janet, I hate when people cut in front of me, but usually, if they're in that much of a hurry, they'll only stay there a minute until they cut back into the other lane. I've often wished that I could spend just one day driving a vehicle that looked like a car on the outside but was built like an armored tank. I'd drive it just the way I drive every other day, except I wouldn't apply my brakes to avoid hitting other vehicles that pulled out in front of me. I wouldn't go out of my way to hit them, but if I did hit them? So be it; maybe they'll learn something.

    Jackie, when I think of the Arizona deserts I've seen in the movies, there's never more than one car on the road at any given time. Are you saying that's not the way it really is?

    Third-Cat, I hope your "unpleasant phone call" was better than you anticipated. Glad to be of (unaware) assistance in "pumping you up."

    Schremsgems, that whole "no fear" attitude is exactly what I'm talking about! It's crazy!

    Sister-Three, I'd have reacted just like you did, with a touch of glee, until I remembered I might go to hell for having thoughts like that. ;-)

  11. Velvet-that car exists-it's called a Humvee. You could rent one for a day and live out your fantasies! Just give them a fake name so the police don't know where to find you. ;-)

  12. It seems most drivers have forgotten the "one carlength for every ten miles per hour" following distance that I , at least, learned in drivers training.
    Nice photos. The mistakes are the better ones, I think.

  13. Velvet, we've been on many of the roads here in the desert, where we are the only car on the road. BUT, we are also just off one of the main highways half way between Phoenix and Tucson, so see a lot of vehicles as we travel around, and on our trips to the closest little town for our 'Wal-Mart' (sorry, Cindra) run. And I swear to God, no one leaves even one car length between our car and theirs - no matter what speed they are traveling. My very favorite, of course, are those cars that pull directly in front of us when we're traveling at 65 mph, and we have to slow down to let them in. I always look behind us - AND THERE IS NEVER ANY CARS THERE! What's up with that? They can't wait for one more car!?

  14. Janet, the only problem with the Humvee is that it LOOKS like it could do some damage. I'd want my "tank" to surprise 'em by looking like a gentle Corolla or something similar.

    Goatman, I learned the same rule you did. Later I learned the "stay two seconds behind the car in front of you" rule, which applies to any speed and is even easier. Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you'll come again so I can convince you that a few of my on-purpose photos are as good as my mistakes.;-)

    Jackie, thanks for explaining "the lay of the land" out there. I hadn't thought about the drivers who pull in front of the last car in line, but we have those, too. I can't imagine what their logic is.

  15. We have a 15 year old son with a permit. That statement itself is frightening. But, I digress....

    We always tell him that he can be the best driver that ever was in the whole big wide world, but he is not alone on the road. Others may not be so great so just be very, very cautious (and distrusting).

  16. Beth, I gave my daughters the same advice you gave your son. They're in their early 40s now, and I think they're finally beginning to understand what I meant.

  17. Frightening is sitting beside the driver that pulls out in front of other cars without looking or takes a 25mph curve at 45 mph. I've seen my life flash before my eyes many times sitting next to drivers who are not trustworthy. I believe I started praying again when sitting in the passengers seat of such a driver. It had been a very long time since God and I talked but driving with "her" has gotten be back in touch with God. We've never spoken so often. I make my peace every time we set out for the store cause I don't know if I'm coming back.


  18. Austin, do you think maybe the Big Guy in the Sky is using "her" to bring you back into the fold? I can just hear Him now, leaning against the Pearly Gates, shooting the breeze with St. Peter, and saying, "Okay, watch the woman in the passenger seat. I'm gonna hold the driver's foot to the accelerator as she goes into this curve, and I'll bet you a wing wash we hear from that passenger in less than 15 seconds."

  19. Well, Velvet, then there's my dad who always said "They'll stop for me, they'll stop." Until one day he made a left without looking and someone plowed into him. My day was only banged up but the car was totaled. He was obviously too trusting.

    He no longer has his license, mom has to drive him around. We worry a lot less now, too.

    Velvet - trust no one! At least not on the road.

  20. Oops - "my *dad* was only banged up" - not "my day"! Where ARE my eyeballs???


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