CONTACTTRAFFICABOUT TOM VANDERBILTOTHER WRITING CONTACT ABOUT THE BOOK

The Finger

Photo by Silent (e)/Flickr

There is the suggestion that poetry is underrepresented on this blog. Hence I give you:

The Finger
by Charles Bukowski

the drivers of automobiles
have very little recourse or
originality.
when upset with
another
driver
they often give him the
FINGER.

I have seen two adult
men
florid of face
driving along
giving each other the
FINGER.

well, we all know what
this means, it’s no
secret.

still, this gesture is
so overused it has
lost most of its
impact.

some of the men who give
the FINGER are captains of
industry, city councilmen,
insurance adjusters,
accountants and/or the just plain
unemployed.
no matter.
it is their favorite
response.

people will never admit
that they drive
badly.

the FINGER is their
reply.

I see grown men
FINGERING each other
throughout the day.

it gives me pause.
when I consider
the state of our cities,
the state of our states,
the state of our country,
I begin to
understand.

the FINGER is a mind-
set.
we are the FINGERERS.
we give it
to each other.
we give it coming and
going.
we don’t know how
else to respond.

what a hell of a way
to not
live.

“The Finger” by Charles Bukowski, from Bone Palace Ballet. © Black
Sparrow Press, 2002

(thanks Dan)

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 2:02 pm and is filed under Etc.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “The Finger”

  1. Josh R Says:

    A friend of the family who was an older woman would, when particularly angered by a bad driver, show the offender her pinky finger. The truth was she was too genteel to flip people off, but she always maintained that the gesture meant “When you don’t care enough to send the very best.”

  2. Mike Says:

    Every time you point that finger, three more point right back at you.

    Are we really saying Finger You! or are we saying Finger ME!, and MY life, because I am so frustrated by the conditions I have allowed to persist around me? We have met the enemy, and he is us.

    Time to make a stand. Time to dream beautifully. Time to awaken and envision our dreams as a reality. Time to believe the possibility of our dreams coming true. And time to get to work to make that happen.

    It’s go time!

  3. Jack Says:

    You’d think the Audubon Society would be flush with members, given the number of folks who relish in flipping the bird.

  4. Fireball Says:

    Concordantly, “a silver-haired old lady…” has been remembered in lyric and song. I believe this link was posted somewhere/sometime previously on this blog. Makes me wonder, “How would Jesus drive?” Probable use public transit. Peace, fellow travelers

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JaZNkjPiHM

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage: krunde@randomhouse.com.

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency: zoe@zpagency.com.

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau: rhspeakers@randomhouse.com.

Order Traffic from:

Amazon | B&N | Borders
Random House | Powell’s

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U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from Amazon.co.uk.

For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum
Toronto

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013
BoingBoing.com “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Communications.
Grand Rapids MI

 

 

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