Of “Drive Safe”

Road Sign.

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There are certain phrases we all say. Words that function like muscle memory. That are spoken without our brain having any choice in the discussion. So we say them, someone else says the appropriate words in response, and we continue on our way.

The phrase that I’ve been noticing the most, as of late, is drive safe.

“Alright, I’ll see ya later.”

“Bye, drive safe.”

“Okay, bye!”

Why do we say that? Do we honestly think that if we don’t tell them to drive safe that something horrid is going to happen to them? That they’ll be driving along and they’ll think to themselves, I wonder what would happen if I turned the steering wheel really fast – oh wait, I’m supposed to drive safe. That’s not very safe. Thanks friend.

The words are merely a filler, in the way that we ask acquaintances how they’re doing expecting to hear the response, “I’m fine.” Sometimes words are just that, things we say because it’s the cultural norm, it’s expected, and we don’t even realize we do it. So I’ve started saying different words:

“Alright, I’ll see ya later.”

“Bye, drive safe.”

“Damn, I was gonna drive ninety and backwards.”

Or

“Alright, I’ll see ya later.”

“Bye, drive dangerously!”

“Haha …… okay?”

I always get an awkward chuckle in response, suddenly, I’m seen as incredibly witty. And for what? Breaking our prescribed script. Changing up the normal conversation. If we all switched around our dialogue then one day simply saying, “Okay, bye,” would be seen as bizarre.

But what I find the most fascinating is that my changed words have become my script – it’s an inescapable cycle of habit.

Road Sign Swerve

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