As I was driving home tonight I had a brief encounter with a rubberband racer. What this usually entails, and was the case tonight, is that I will be in the high speed, aka passing, lane and another car will be in the middle, aka traveling, lane. Usually I am traveling at a speed somewhat higher than the (rubberband) racer, seeing as how I'm in the fast lane and he's in the average lane, and I'm passing him. But then a magical thing happens. For however many miles he was traveling at say 65mph and I was traveling at say 70mph. But now that I've passed him and get in to the traveling lane he suddenly starts driving at 70mph as well, usually in a relaxed proctologist manner (not very tight in the ass, but still kind of stuck to it).
Eventually I was going 75mph (and so was he) so I started going 80mph. At this point, he loses the excitement of the chase (or I have exceeded his comfort zone speed limit) so I pull away. After a minute or so I'm going 70mph again and there's no one catching up to me. Obviously once the target of the rubber band has pulled away, the racer becomes just another random person on the road doing their thing. Now, I've mentioned this behavior in past entries, but what I was pondering tonight was the reason for it.
As I see it, there are at least a couple possiblities. One (which I admit is quite optimistic) is that there is something kindred between myself and the racer, and he's racing either as a function of being in sync with me, or to attempt to get close to me to share an underlying sameness. That theory might sound weird, but it seems more logical if you find it possible that the human brain is capable of what you might describe as "wireless networking". I won't go in to much detail on this since it's somewhat of a mystical belief, but the example I present is that of women living in the same house. Apparently they will all eventually share the same menstrual cycle after living together long enough, despite having different cycles previous to living together. One could also point out to how twins often seem to know when something has happened to one or the other.
A more pessimistic, or realistic depending upon your view, possibility is that there is simply something in people that you might call envy, or lust, or even just competitive drive. Since I was passing the racer at a seemingly approachable speed, his competitive spirit flared and he subconciously took up the gauntlet to race. Once I exhibited my dominance of speed, he found the chase uninteresting and went back to being a normal commuter.
I'd be curious to see if there are any studies that were done on the matter. Holding my belief that all people represent all different possibilities, I wouldn't be surprised to find that both of my thoughts have some level of validity.