I realise that I should probably be keeping my eyes and my thoughts 100% on the road when I am zooming around Innsbruck, but the reality is that I’ve been driving in a state of “unconscious competence” for so long that much of what I do when driving has become automatic.
I mention this for two reasons: first, to justify having these (dare I say “profound”?) thoughts whilst driving, and second, to highlight how much trust is involved in simply using our roads, bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways.
I never fail to be amazed at how many people tell me that they are fearful of the times in which we live and that “people” simply aren’t to be trusted. These same people then blithely leap into their cars and trust complete strangers to – by-and-large – obey the rules of the road; compensate when others (and they!) make the odd mistake; and keep control of their emotions (for example, although I often wish that I could gently “bump” rude drivers with the massive hummer-type vehicle that I don’t actually own, I have never given into this temptation…).
Thinking specifically about cars, these are big, heavy things that can do a great deal of damage. We all trust complete strangers to operate and control these vehicles well enough to ensure that we can get from a-to-b alive.
When you think about how many millions of people, all over the world, travelling by foot, bicycle, motorcycles and cars, manage to work together with remarkably few deaths… Well, it’s more than remarkable. It’s extra-ordinary. If you’ve ever needed proof that most people aren’t “out to get you”, then this has be a good example.
People can be trusted. We trust them every day without even thinking about it.
In times when terrorists are blowing up stadiums and countries across the globe are opting to become more insular than they have been in the last 40-50 years, this feels like a positive observation that is part of the good news. And there is still so much good news out there. Of this I am certain.