Four-Way Stop Signs

There is no better place to observe the instantaneous social understanding between two people than a deduction of the behavior exhibited at a four-way stop sign.  In just less than half-a-second each respective observer evaluates, computes, decides, trusts and shows gratitude.

Evaluation in the speed that the other car is traveling – “are they stopping? Will she stop? Nice car, but not as nice as mine.  She’s cute, but only a 7 from where I’m sitting.  The demeanor of her face states an ease that should be expected on a sunny sunday morning such as this – nowhere to go in a hurry, just driving from A to B in her cute little three-year-old white Acura.”

“She’ll stop, you can go,” my sub-conscience tells my right foot as the computation makes way to decision from the evaluation of her speed and the demeanor of her face and my foot listens pivoting downward on the gas and my truck and I accelerate forward as she stationarily passes me on the right, even amidst her stopping at her sign as self-predicted a quarter-second prior.

I look.  She looks. We lock eyes and mine rotate upwards ever-so-slightly saying, “Preciate-cha.”  And I continue on to the B for which I am destined and so does she.

And she, certainly, in that same blink of time went through the same process of evaluation, computation, decision, trust and gratitude – ‘red octagonal sign with the letters S-T-O-P indicates the necessity to remove right foot from right peddle, transfer horizontally to the left to the adjacent peddle to which the right foot should then rotate downward at a pressure appropriate to decrease the velocity of my car so as to fit like a glove just before the wide painted white line that is perpendicularly oriented adjacent to the aforementioned sign.  As there is a good looking guy in a red truck beginning to accelerate, I should come to a complete stop and look at him prior to re-accelerating forward.’

This morning, in this brief encounter, the 7 in the white acura and I shared an instantaneous mutual understanding of how to each exist in the moments associated with stopping and going at a four-way stop sign.  The experience is one of many that are typical and so crucial to each of our respective existence and, in this case, the well-being of our respective vehicles.  These are the momentary processes that makeup the DNA of the rest of our respective days, to our whole lives up until now and also the lives of those whom we each know and, to an exponentially decreasing degree, the lives of those whom we do not know but whom know the ones that we do know.

Far beyond the complexity of Google or of cellular telephones or the putting of a man on the moon is the ability of the human mind to quickly process and react to such seemingly insignificant daily social connections, which in every way map the history of Man in respect to the Micro and also the Macro.

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