Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety has cost us a lot – and not just money.
It has sucked almost all of the the fun out of driving – especially for those who were born after the Safety Cult established itself as mainstream state religion.
The Millennials, god help them. And us.
It happened during the ’90s, when strange rituals which had previously been practiced by a few neurasthenic people – fearful of everything – became state policy, enforced upon everyone.
These things are now unquestionable dogma.
Every drive has thus become a time-consuming chore for the parents – no more just getting in and going – and aversion training for the kids.
It is no accident that people who grew up after the Safety Cult went mainstream – the Millennials and up – don’t much like cars or driving.
Why would they?
From their earliest memory onward, a drive was not an exciting adventure but a kind of prison bus ride. The child forcibly strapped in, by inevitably impatient hands; he struggles a bit, perhaps – at first – and is scolded. He learns it is pointless; that he is helpless.
The bindings are pulled tight, skin is pinched, clothes bunched.
It cannot be comfortable.
Whatever he’s wearing, he must continue wearing, whether he is hot or cold. All he can do is yelp for help.
The child is denied even the freedom to take his own jacket off – or put it on – according to his own desire and without having to plead for an adult Authority Figure to allow him to do so.
The child isn’t permitted to do more than look around – a little.
He can’t rotate his body to look behind him – and so is denied (and will never know) the view of the world receding that was once known to every American child.
Even looking to the side is difficult because of the way the child is harnessed.
Anything of interest is out of reach.
If he drops his book or toy, he must do without unless someone – an adult Authority Figure – deigns to hand it back. Which they probably won’t because they’re up front and also strapped in – though their bindings are self-applied, at least.
All the child can do is stare – and wait. His fate – everything – is in the hands of others.
He has no control over anything. He is dependent on the whims of others. He probably can’t even scratch where it itches – and forget sidling up close to his sister or brother to whisper a secret which the parents up front can’t overhear.
Imagine it. How stultifying it must be.
The child who has grown up in Safety Culted America has never experienced the wonder of laying upside down across the seat and looking up at the tree branches and sky. Nor of peering under the seats to see what treasures might be there; nor of putting his ear to the floorboard in order to hear the muffled whoosh of the road, perhaps to feel the warmth of the exhaust pipes beneath.
There is no gamboling out of the car the moment mom or dad puts it in Park. The child must wait while the laborious process of uncinching is undertaken. The child is denied the hallowed rite – now anathema – of proceeding ahead of the adults. Of rushing up the stairs, to knock on the door of their friend’s house and disappearing within before mom or dad can even get out of the car .
Youth is speed governend, chained to age.
No more clambering over the seat tops to ride in between mom and dad – or in one of their laps. Heaven forbid. The windows are up, the switch out of reach – probably remotely disabled, just in case. The child is not allowed to stick his hands out to feel the wind anyhow – and forget his head.
Instead, the child is cinched firmly into the saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety seat, very much like Hannibal Lector, strapped to the hand truck for his interview.
Except, of course, the child hasn’t eaten anyone.
But preventing cannibalism isn’t the object. And neither is saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety.
Those of us who grew up before the Safety Cult took over are still here. How can this be? We were not strapped down like living luggage, could scratch where it itched and tickle our sister or whisper to a friend . . . and didn’t die, since we’re still here.
We also loved going for a ride – and so, cars.
And yearned to drive them, as soon as we possible could – because of the freedom a car incarnated. Get in and go! Anywhere we liked, free to do as we pleased.
All gone now, and probably planned that way.
. . .
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