“U.S. traffic fatalities rose 9% in the first six months of 2016, compared with a year earlier,” according to a Wall Street Journal article I read on my cellphone while driving north on the I-95 to my Wynwood loft after work.
According to the report, the increase in traffic deaths is a product of cheaper gas prices encouraging more Americans to use their cars, as well as the inability of most drivers from going more than a few seconds before checking their phones. The report noted that recent attempts to segregate cell users and texters in walled-off “texting only lanes” may have actually increased the risk of driving on South Florida’s roadways by causing distracted drivers to careen their vehicles into the ill-conceived and recently installed safety rails (see picture below).
Upon reading most, but not all, of the article I texted my friend Sara to ask whether she thought an article about the irony of reading a piece on increased traffic fatalities on my phone from a freeway was ironic enough to warrant a meta article written in the first person. She had doubts, but said I should explore the creative process, which I certainly appreciated.
Still on the I-95, I refreshed Facebook a few times after receiving Sara’s encouraging words, searched for and watched a video of a horse dancing to Carlos Santana, and then started composing this very article.
After a few minutes of writing, I had arrived at my destination and to my dismay found my car to be heavily damaged. It appeared that I had hit several cars, at least two cyclists, and a Key Deer on my journey home while I was lost in concentration writing this article. I was also a little high, but I get headaches, so that’s probably legal by now, right?.
As I walked away from my car, quietly pushing the potential consequences of my actions into the background of my consciousness, I contemplated calling the cops to report myself, but only so that if I were ever caught I could honestly say that I had thought about turning myself in. It was never an actual option, obviously, but the act of contemplation makes me feel somehow a little less culpable.
I then walked into my apartment, added hyperlinks and an embedded video of the Santana-dancing horse to this article, and posted it online wondering how many hits it would receive and just how seriously readers would take it.