Auf Der Autobahn

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I don’t know how fast I was actually going on the Autobahn, because I don’t speak KPH. All I know is that as I kept pace with other cars in the left lane, it felt like I was piloting a rocket.

My husband meanwhile snoozed in the passenger seat of our rented BMW, blissfully unaware that our lives could have ended in a split second. A couple of Schrodinger’s cats we were, both alive and dead. Each time I switched lanes our bodies lurched to the side. I marveled at my husband’s ability to sleep through such a wild experience.

I’d get into the left lane to pass slower vehicles, then immediately move right again to let even more reckless drivers pass me. The freedom to go as fast as I wanted was exhilarating – and terrifying. I hadn’t anticipated ever getting to have this experience. It’s strange to think how what was novel for me is just everyday life for Germans.

As humans have started to return to normal life following the pandemic, I expected we would be a little kinder to each other. With everyone having been isolated and lonely for so long, we have an unprecedented second chance to be the best versions of ourselves. Unfortunately, as soon as we resumed commuting, we all turned back into jerks, me included.

I shout and curse at the slow-moving vehicles that refuse to take a hint and move right on the highway. At the vehicles that make a turn at only two miles an hour, clogging up the roadway. At the timid, brake-tapping drivers. At the drivers with dazed expressions and slack mouths who appear to not even be aware they are in a car or have any idea where they are going.

It’s cathartic, really, to shout at strangers from the safety of your own car. I don’t hurl insults out an open window or give the finger; my rage is kept contained within the privacy of my vehicle. I shout all the way to work. Then, having gotten that out of my system, I stroll into the office in my business casual wear like a normal, well-adjusted member of society.