Dude, I want to read this book: Tom Vanderbilt’s Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) I’ve heard him pushing his book on NPR: A civil engineer waxing socialogical over our automobile ontology.

This book makes me think of my most recent travels. When I was in Manila a year ago, stuck in evening traffic in Ermita as we were trying to get home to Quezon City, I wondered how it was that I never saw any traffic accidents, when every driver seemed to be driving in a passive aggressive haze, courting a fender bender, or clipping the hair off blind street urchins panhandling in the middle of the lane-less thoroughfares “Are you gonna hit me,” the jeepney driver yells at the SUV driver behind his tinted windows, “go ahead hit me! see what it gets you!” No Right of Way, everybody stuck in some kind of 70s experimental chance-based choreography. John Cage Autotopia.

In Bangkok I rode on the back of motorcycle taxis, without a helmet, weaving through traffic. Punctuality trumps safety. All praise Buddha.

In Paris they get their kicks riding roundabouts (according to Vanderbilt, traffic circles are far less deadly than orthogonal intersections.)

In LA every freeway lane is a passing lane, even the off ramps, because every second saved adds up to a longer weekend, a weekend spent on the road.

Nobody drives in NY, they all write ambulatory poetry.