Do you ever feel like the world is trying to run you over? Man, I do lately. And I mean that both literally and figuratively.
I think I must annoy most of Palm Beach County with my driving. The whole of West Palm Beach and surrounding communities is trying desperately to get out from behind me whenever I’m out on its roadways. And may I say, though I’m by no means proud of this, that I’ve acquired two speeding tickets and a verbal warning during my driving lifetime, proving I’m no slowpoke. At the very slowest, I drive the speed limit, but usually I’m in that “area of grace” above it – you know what I mean – fast enough to still be safe and react quickly, but not too fast as to get a ticket (well . . . . obviously I misjudged that once or twice.)
Maybe I’m noticing it more in the last few years because I drive a car with virtually no backside. My VW bug has a tiny backseat and an even tinier trunk (one might actually call it a “trunkette.”) If a car is right on my tail, I can practically reach back and touch it. It can be a bit alarming when I look in my rearview mirror and see nothing but grill. Still, I love my little car, named Imogene. (Her full name is Imogene Camille Carlisle. I really have no good reason why, just that it suits her.) Because of the close proximity to the cars behind me, I can see each “oh my gosh, get out of my way” gesture going on back there. There’s the “I’m going to swerve over a bit so I can see if there’s anyone in front of you to see why on earth you’re going so slow.” This is usually followed by the “hands flying up in the air and then slamming down onto the steering wheel in complete disgust” move. Sometimes I can even see the driver’s eyes rolling. And sometimes, in complete defeat, after they realize they just can’t get around me for a while, there’s the “place elbow on the door and rest one’s head on one’s hand as though they could just take a nap” move. This one shows complete and utter disdain.
It used to be I just avoided driving on 95 and all other highways were fair game. Nowadays I avoid 95 like the plague. I’m pretty sure there might even be notices at each on-ramp through West Palm that deny my access onto it. “Congestion ahead, drive carefully. Patti Thomas, don’t even think about merging on here.” Used to be I could take the turnpike for a less crazy commute, or 441 for a downright casual drive. Not anymore. I’m blown of the road pretty much equally on all three.
I’m afraid the drivers of Palm Beach County have not heard “The 59th Street Bridge Song” by Simon & Garfunkel, exhorting people to “slow down, you move too fast, you got to make the morning last . . . ” Palm Beach County, your drivers are definitely not “feeling groovy.”
The world around me is moving too fast. Our kids grow up too fast. The time goes by too fast. “Didn’t this year go by fast?” Do we ever hear the opposite? If you take one step out of your front door and into the world, chances are pretty good you’re going to get swept along with the quick current. It seems to be “normal” to be so busy you can’t keep up with everything now. It might be normal but I just don’t think it’s good.
My prayer for anyone reading this is that you’d slow down for just a bit. Savor the silence. Embrace the quiet. Don’t believe the lie that faster is better. If someone blasts past you on the highway, let ’em. To quote another song, this one by the Eagles: “Life in the fast lane, surely make you lose your mind.” Despite that poor grammar, I believe this wholeheartedly!