Rear View Mirror

There’s only so much you can see in your rear view mirrors. You glance up every now and then praying you wouldn’t see the red, white and blue flashing lights coming up behind you, insisting you pull over. You also keep checking to make sure no humongous truck or aggressive speeder is bearing down on you, but other than that it’s just something that serves to underscore your fast disappearing life.

Endless miles of roads, covered so many times that you lose track of all distinctions between the past, present and future. I have a feeling you could take a picture of the highway, appearing to converge somewhere in the point you passed several minutes ago, the soundproofing barriers on either side of the road that stop the hum of the highway from disturbing suburban idylls and the endless cars behind you, and simply paste it on the rectangular reflective object that you call your rear view mirror. I don’t think you’d be missing much, that’s how little the scenery behind you changes on any given day.

It does get interesting sometimes when traffic is at a dead stop and you are bored out of your mind. Then you look up to see a woman, her mouth forming a perfect O as she applies mascara to her eyelashes and then attaches a metallic object that appears like a torture instrument, but is in fact a harmless eyelash curler. Just as she is in the middle of curling her eyelashes, the traffic inches forward and she drives forward with the thing attached to her eyelashes. Why is it so important to have curled eyelashes that would be batted at a computer screen for 99% of her day? In fact harried women provide the most thought provoking rear viewed moments. Why did she not apply all her make up at home? Perhaps there wasn’t enough time? She wanted to get out of the house just in time so she could miss the very crawl of which she was now a part, but a part of her knew that the crawl would offer ample opportunity to put on the mask through which she would view her world that day. Sometimes you see them taking both their hands off the steering wheel to pat imaginary stray hairs back in place, turning their heads this way and that until they land the most satisfactory pat on the top or sides of their heads.

The men, they have slightly different attitudes. Some like to use these dead hours cleaning their noses and some others leaning out of their windows for animated communication using graphic hand signals with other drivers who have enraged them on the road. Sometimes the men appear almost horizontal in the mirror. They keep their seats at a 150 degree or so angle, simulating a bed. Perhaps they are more concerned with catching up on sleep.

The rear view movie repeats itself everyday with endless reruns of the same episodes. You may not be able to name the characters in the show but you know their faces. You know how long they are going to stay behind you and the exact moment at which they’ll veer to the left or the right of you, tired of staying behind, and raring to pass you and blow right by you. It’s as if they suddenly wake up and ask themselves what they are doing behind a car when they could be finding gaps within the cars or traveling along the shoulders so they could give themselves a traffic advantage and a feeling of being the fittest in this survival scenario. For it is a jungle out there, one in which we’re trapped for good, unless an impulse carries us to an exit we’ve never taken before that leads to a place to which we’ve never traveled before, to the very edge of the boundaries within which we’ve enclosed ourselves.

1 Comment

  1. nice concept…great.. will now have to consider this too while driving..eeeps!! lol

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