On my commute the other day, I merged onto the 405 freeway onramp from the 710 freeway offramp, which is a loop entrance. At the end of the loop, there’s just a short amount of road to merge onto the 405 freeway while others try to merge into the freeway you just left – this happens when going either from 710 to 405 or vice-versa.
I’ve noticed that every time I merge here, it always seems to be seamless. There’s never any congestion, close calls or accidents. It seems rather smooth for such a short area to merge. It got me thinking how it operates like a well-lubed gear.
From an aerial view the merging area could resemble where the teeth of two gears mesh, never colliding, just simply coexisting. That got me thinking deeper. Sometimes I think about people wandering about this planet aimlessly, or with a goal. Somewhat like on Donnie Darko, I imagine a path laid out in front of them dictating where they will be and a path behind them denoting where they have been. In my imagination these paths look much like the streets on Google maps.
Anyway, back to this freeway merger. It doesn’t take much ground to cover such a large transition when people work together. Imagine their feelings as they reach this intersecting path. Drivers come at it with apprehension not unlike the apprehension of entering a gathering. Most are cautious because they don’t know what to expect of others. Are they coming in fast? Are they coming in slow? I’m impressed at how quickly decisions are made in that short area. Pressure. Perhaps that is what makes for a smooth transition.
We are all teeth on gears for that moment. We coexist while attached to something bigger than us, but surrounded by us. We have no choice but to respect each other’s paths. I can almost visualize mutual nods as manners triumphantly create harmony.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines harmony as the pleasing combination or arrangement of different things. I wonder if we were always so pleasantly arranged, would we could we coexist as in John Lennon’s “Imagine” song.