The following Rant began life as an installment in the weekly column, “Denim Spirit” of The Finger Lakes Times (NY): http://www.fltimes.com/opinion/denim-spirit-to-everyone-moving-too-fast/article_899e14fe-6701-11e7-9626-375d240f72f5.html
That is what she shouted at me from the open window of her giant SUV as she sped away down the street. Our first encounter was minutes before at the bank Teller/ATM drive-up window. Honk! I jumped, the noise ransacking my peaceful mood.
Confusion. Why would someone honk at me in the drive-up Teller window?
I looked into my side mirror. Our eyes met in the glassy reflection, hers beaming anger and mine wonderment. She jabbed her finger in the air for me to move forward and said, “ATM!” I pointed to the Teller’s window and mouthed, “Teller.”
Before long I noticed she was backing up her vehicle, which appeared large enough to roll over mine. The tires squealed slightly as they turned vigorously on the asphalt, then her car jerked forward to enter the ATM (only) lane on the other side of a partition. I never saw her pull away, nor when she turned back into the parking lot, probably because I was transacting business with the extraordinarily sweet and friendly Teller by then.
The Teller invited me to have a nice weekend, her gentle voice blending with the sound the plastic carrier being sucked through the mysterious tube. Just then, “OMG! Unbelievable!” The woman shouted it from fifty feet away in the street, the incredulity of her voice heard well above the roar of her accelerating engine. It was an expression of consternation, presumably over the fact I was still sitting in the Teller’s lane, as if doing so was tantamount to defecating in someone’s front yard.
I drove nearly forty years without a traffic ticket for a moving violation. Then in a period of two years, for reasons as varied as a rural speed-trap to the death of my father, I received four tickets in three states. I hadn’t been an especially aggressive or fast driver before that legal onslaught, but the behavior modification exerted by four state troopers, was successful. I began observing the speed limit like a new convert goes to church on Sunday. Then I moved to northern and rural Vermont where traffic congestion is an oddity, and driving without urgency is nearly a way of life.
Driving on Routes 5 & 20 at forty-six or forty-nine miles per hour, in a 45 MPH zone, is enough to make some drivers go ballistic. Tooling down the road at or near the speed limit is as if I had called their baby ugly or their politics dimwitted. Like the woman outraged by my using the Teller lane to actually transact business with the Teller, I seem to be inflicting hernias and hemorrhoids on the poor slobs who are stuck driving behind me at the speed limit.
To all the people in danger of a stroke because of my driving, allow me to offer some advice. Take a deep breath, ease yourself back into the moment, and enjoy the thought you are saving gas and reducing your air pollution simply by joining me in driving as if time was on our side. Thanks.
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