I had to stop driving my car for a while. The tires got dizzy. – Steven Wright
George Carlin once said, “Have you ever noticed that anyone driving slower than you is an idiot and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” Well, the other day I was driving down State Road 43 into Lafayette when I came to the part of the road where it widens to four lanes. Not on my way to work or limited by any time factor, I was going a crisp 60 mph (in a 55 zone) and kept a steady pace. Four vehicles behind me decided that I was an idiot. So all four maniacs – in a quick parade – shot into the left lane to pass. I watched for a bit as they tried to outmaneuver each other ahead of me to be first in line. Now by myself on the road, my attention shifted to a wonderful scene at the side of the road of people outside in their yard enjoying the nice spring day. It made me smile. About a minute later I came to the stoplight and quickly noticed – yep – all four NASCAR drivers stuck at the red light in front on me. So long story short, I caught up with them and got a nice little eye feast before I arrived.
I forget who said it, but it was a very apropos comment at the time. “People drive everywhere today like they’re driving to the hospital.” It’s very true. And I used to be one of them. My wife is still somewhat apprehensive about driving with me. I’ve tended to be in a hurry for no apparent reason and taken stupid chances that don’t really make any sense. Sure I arrived at my destination earlier by something like 5 minutes. And I arrived there in a bad mood, hands shaking, cursing all those idiots on the road. But hey, I beat all those idiots and arrived there early dammit!
I guess part of it has to do with people’s innate desire to win. We may be having a bad day, be in debt, or have any of a thousand other issues we’re dealing with. But to get in front of all those other drivers on the road, that makes you a winner. Be proud. Be happy (until you get behind the wheel again). Everyone else out there thinks you’re a maniac.
Now I understand if you are running late for work, an appointment or actually going to the hospital. But what purpose is served by driving like a maniac to the grocery store? Don’t worry, groceries will still be on the shelves waiting for you to arrive.
As I’ve aged, I’ve taken a conscious effort to slow down on the road and enjoy the ride. And that is a lot more possible if you’re not clutching the wheel in a death grip, eyes narrowed on all the idiots in front of you. I’ve noticed a lot more beautiful things at the side of the road. I’ve noticed interesting trees, beautiful flowers, nice scenes of people at play, and hundreds of other wonderful sights. Every one of them, every single one, makes me feel a bit richer for the experience.
I also look at it spiritually. I know everyone out there has different beliefs. I even have a friend who’s a Satanist. But regardless of what you believe, there will come a point when your earthly body will wear out. What happens after that is open to multiple interpretations. Ultimately we ALL have the same destination to eventually leave our bodies. So it makes sense to slow down and enjoy every moment, even on the road.
So the next time you’re on your way to the grocery store, take it easy and notice the sights along the way. You don’t know what you might be missing.
But hey, you don’t have to listen to me. I’m just an idiot with a blog.