Mar 10, 2007

Road Rage: Life in the slow lane is not for chickens

My friends are generally shocked to discover that I drive the speed limit. Those who know me and work alongside me think of me as a fast-paced multi-tasker whose mind works at supersonic speeds and whose mouth moves even faster. The dichotomy between my personality and driving persona couldn't be more divided than the chasm between the northern rim of the Grand Canyon and its southern edge.

Driving hypnotizes me to the point where I fall asleep. I always add one hour to my drive time, because more often than not I need to pull off to the side of the road and take a nap. My drowsiness slows my reflexes, hence my conscious decision to drive the speed limit.

You'd think that by keeping to the right side of the road I would be protected from road rage. Are you kidding? Here's the Road Rage Motto: Anyone going faster than you is a maniac; anyone going slower than you is an idiot.

Driving in the right lane on the I-95 South at 67 m.p.h. on a leisurely Saturday afternoon, I happened to glance in my rear view mirror. The pretty blond woman behind me was flipping me the bird and obviously shouting obscenities at me. I was preventing her from speeding to the exit ramp.
Further down the road, one other guy appeared behind me seemingly out of the blue. He tailgated me for a while, willing me to drive faster. Seeing no results, he decided to teach me a lesson. He pulled around me, nearly cutting me off, then braked suddenly. I nearly rear ended him. My crime? Driving in the slow lane going 65 m.p.h. in a 65 m.p.h. zone.

So, you're saying to yourself, if driving is so tough for you, get off the road already! Easier said than done. My job requires frequent travel. I prefer to drive over the old routes, like Rtes 1, 301, and 29, but sometimes that's not possible. When that is the case, I drink a gallon of coffee or drive with the windows rolled down. Even so, I've been known to nod off.

Returning from Baltimore recently, I spotted an SUV that was weaving in and out of traffic. This guy used every road rage trick in the book, creating road havoc. Fifty miles later, I caught up with him. He was stuck in the fast lane, where traffic had ground to a halt. Me? I was driving speed limit in the slow lane. When I saw the congestion up ahead, I took the first exit, knowing that Route 1 would get me home. I'll bet he's still sitting in traffic.

My question is this: Why won't you folks in the fast lanes leave us slow laners alone? And before you get all in a huff just digest what I said: I DRIVE IN THE SLOW LANE. You folks can have the fast lanes all to yourselves. And if a slow laner dares to obstruct traffic by driving in the left lane, you have my permission to drive over them, flip them the bird, or teach them any lesson you like.

Just leave me the hell alone. Yeah, that means you, asshole.


jinxy said...

Girl, I know what you mean. I am not a speed-limiter like you, but I lived in Luxembourg surrounded by Portuguese people. I think driving the speed limit is considered a mortal sin by those people.

I quit driving because I had a small baby and post-partum depression. Thank God I didn't have a gun. Some of those people scared me/pissed me off so bad I might have forgotten about jail for a little bit.

When I first started interstate driving I had the same problem you do. My secret is license plates. I am about to reveal something I dont often admit because people I tell about it usually begin to believe I am wierd. But whatever, it's the internet. I'm in good company here.

I analyze license plate numbers for numerical patterns. I do it without even thinking now. I don't know why but it works. I can keep my eyes on the road and keep them open. When I'm stuck in a slow jam, I start critiquing the people surrounding me. (Not only am I wierd, but I'm also judgemental)

I also listen to stand-up comedy while driving. I can't listen to music on the interstates while driving because I will fall asleep as well.

But as for road rage, any driver, no matter how good or bad will be faced with it at some point. I admit myself to getting irritated with people at times, but they usually are old people that can't see to drive, and I can tell because even though they are driving at 25mph they cant keep the car in their lane... but don't get me started!!

Ms. Place said...

My numerical game is watching my speedometer. I look for symmetry, like 9009, 13031, 56765, It's getting tougher now that my car has turned 100,000 miles, because the symmetry occurs less frequently.

Yeah, I get antsy with folks who drive 5-10 miles below speed limit, or who hog the wrong lane. This post is about driving speed limit in the correct lane.

Speed limits are not what they used to be, that's for sure!

SatinstoneBarbie said...

This post is spot on. I also am a speed limit driver in the slow lane. It is very odd, when on a stretch of road without nary a driver in sight, someone will blaze up from behind, pull in the left lane, pass, then go in front of me only to slow down. What is that? Some unsatisfied control freak? Kid who never got to play follow the leader? Off-duty police escort without a parade?
It's so much nicer when I'm riding my motorcycle, since I can twitch, and squirt away. Yeah!