An Andy Rooney Moment
All that time behind the wheel gives me time to reflect, as well as to talk back to Welsh CDs, and here's one of those reflections. Whatever happened to the curious custom (indeed, law) by which slow drivers travel in the right lane?
A lot of early morning driving has convinced me that people on the road early come in two varieties. There are those of us who are up solely to avoid as much traffic as possible, and who travel as fast as possible to stay ahead of it. This is getting harder. In 1970 or so, if you got on the road in Boston at 5:30 a.m., you had many highways to yourself, and shared others only with trucks. No more: Today, my 0530 departure keeps me barely ahead of the ravening hordes of commuters. One feels like a troika driver trying to outrun the wolves, throwing passengers overboard now and then to lighten the load. The least interruption in one's forward motion can be fatal.
That brings us to the other class of early morning drivers, the contemplatives. To them, the commute is a moment of spiritual reflection, enjoyed with the coffee whilst tooling down the left or centre lane of a six-lane highway with a 45 mph speed limit at 33. When the wolves catch up to the contemplatives, we have a traffic jam.
The centre-lane contemplatives may be the most fascinating. One has to be more than trivially entranced to continue one's sedate progress with a lane of traffic on each side going about twice one's own speed. If my timetable weren't at risk, I could admire the singleminded devotion of these ascetics to their dawn rituals.
But my timetable is at risk, and I'm at my most selfish before the morning java. So, I have a little message for the contemplatives:
If you're so attached to slow driving, stay in bed another hour and join the rush. You can be as slow as you like then, and you'll be out of my way.
And get the fuck into the right lane!