GIF: DigitalMovies (YouTube)

We may feel like we remember the past, but I think we only really to record highs, lows, and a few posed pictures in between. That’s why looking back on a long-forgotten moment of mundanity can be so fascinating. Or at least, that’s the best theory I could come up with as to why I was engrossed by this clip of some random dude’s uneventful commute in 1988.

I stumbled on this while trawling the internet for ’80s car clips. I was really thinking more “Lamborghini Countach zooming to synthwave” but clicked on this because I love Los Angeles and even though I didn’t live here in 1988, I am intrigued by its past.

Like, wow, 6:15 p.m. on a Friday and he’s going cruising speed on the 405? Angelinos love to name-drop highways, you might have noticed, and people who live in LA might appreciate this particular footage more than others. But I do really think it’s weirdly interesting to ride (presumably) home from work, listen to the radio, and look at traffic on August 26, 1988... a day on which it doesn’t seem like anything of significance happened.

In 2019 we’re recording and sending pictures and videos of ourselves all the time, but today it’s a lot more about making quips or cultivating hashtag personal branding, whereas it seemed like the “home videos” people were making 20 or 30 years ago were a lot more about personal record-keeping.

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This moment of non-performative nothingness in an anonymous person’s life is its own thing, though. It’s just that: a moment. Why did the driver record this? Who is he? We may never know. Regardless, from where I’m sitting, this clip seems like an extremely earnest historical record. Which, like I said, is exactly what makes it so intriguing.

Also–the cars are are awesome.