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Tail-gaters

This blog refers to another recent one where I talked about the need to Step Away for perspective. As well as that, we need to keep a healthy and safe distance from whoever and whatever we are following.

There are few things more annoying on the road than tail-gaters. I am fortunate that my location in the outskirts of Brisbane means that I frequently get to travel on relatively quiet countrified roads. But equally, I often find my self being followed way too closely by other cars.


You might know from my socials that I am pretty big on wildlife, so I am always mindful when travelling the local area that at any moment, some wild creature might launch itself onto the road in front of me. This is particularly true at night. So I try to travel at a safe speed and distance from the next car to allow for that. If only that was universal! Lately the prevalence of tail-gaters has seemed to increase. And it isn't just hoons who are guilty. Recently I was tailgated down a road (I was doing the speed limit) by a woman with a child in her passenger seat. They were probably late for soccer practice or something, but if I had hit the breaks for any reason, a) she would have reduced my car to about half its size and b) injured (possibly killed) herself and her child in the process. Just as bad, I have travelled home at night with a car so close behind me that I couldn't see their headlights in the mirror.


Obviously, tail-gating is a dangerous practice. It puts both the tail-gater and tail-gatee in jeopardy. I see this all the time with my cat Max. He often forces me to tail-gate him by walking directly in front of me to ensure I am heading to the kitchen to get him some food. Often he stops dead in front of me to check I am still there and to see if he needs to herd me in the direction he wants me to go. The number of times I have tripped over him is ridiculous. Thankfully, neither of us have been seriously injured as yet, but he doesn't seem to have learnt his lesson.


Sometimes in life, we find ourselves being followed very closely by someone or we become very interested to the point of obsession with something or someone else. Neither position is particularly comfortable or good for us. If we follow someone too closely on social media, for example, we can become obsessed and spend all our time trying to be like the person we are following. We will potentially damage ourselves in the process by missing out on living our own lives. Being followed by millions on socials seems like a great thing in terms of earnings and fame, but my guess it has just as many disadvantages: lack of privacy, stalking, the pressure to keep the numbers up and the inability to stop.


In terms of our art, we need to avoid following trends, other artists and styles too closely. Doing this robs them and us of our originality, makes us obsess over things that won't help us in the long run, and if the object of our obsession suddenly stops, where does that leave us? Following too closely can end in a pile up, which is injurious to everyone involved and can take ages to recover from. For certain, get involved in the community, see what others are doing, go out and keep your vehicle in good working order. But when it comes to your creativity, make sure you are travelling at a safe distance from the traveler in front. Slow down, enjoy the scenery, and leave yourself enough room to safely stop or change direction. And allow the traveler in front the same courtesy.



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