|Bookmarks Jan/Feb - Page 4|
If you're eating in the car—one in eight drivers are said to eat in a car at least once a week—you could miss a whole band of gorillas. Twenty-two percent of American meals are served through a takeout drive-in window. Taco Bell's "hexagonal Crunchwrap Supreme" is designed to "handle well in the car." Who's looking for a gorilla while chomping into a cheesy Tex-Mex burrito?
We notoriously don't see bicyclists—which is why you put your life on your handlebars when riding a bike. The Netherlands has a much lower fatality rate per mile for cyclists than the United States because bicycles are everywhere: drivers are conditioned to look out for them. Similarly, New York City is one of the safest cities, per capita, for pedestrians because walkers are everywhere. The most dangerous city for pedestrians is Tampa, Florida: walkers are an anomaly there, so drivers don't look out for them, with fatal consequences.
A therapist reading this book might be struck by another fact that springs out of the mass transit of information in Traffic: how cut off drivers are from feedback, the most important factor in successful therapy, next to a good therapeutic alliance. Clinical feedback to clients acts as a kinder, gentler version of the reality principle—letting clients know when their feelings and thoughts are distorted and how their behavior affects other people. But encased in a 2,000-pound metal shell, shielded from meaningful feedback, you can freely scream obscenities at the driver who cut you off, and generally act like a lunatic—which you wouldn't with someone you encountered face-to-face.