Riding in the caravan of the dead, a peculiar sight: cell-phone-talking teenage drivers, soccer moms in SUVs, and bankers in BMWs all pulling to the road's shoulder. Why this wide berth for death? Do they wish to get as far from the leprous corpse as possible? Is their swerving meant as pity, as in sorry for your loss, may I offer my side of the road? Are they startled to see the hearse—the last car they too will ride in?
They themselves do not know why they stop. Customs are a culture's deep thoughts, embodied in the thoughtless actions of its people.