I have rarely been able to drive 55 on the freeway – a large stretch of open road, an invitation to experience your own personal Autobahn every time you zoom up the on-ramp. And most other drivers, the ones who don’t drive like idiots, seem to agree with me. I’m pretty sure you’re also nodding your head in agreement right now, especially the part about the idiot drivers.
I was born with, as Tom Cruise said in Top Gun, a need for speed.
I recently took a little drive to Reno with my husband to spend Thanksgiving with my family. On the drive home I was behind the wheel, cruising along, passing most people and maintaining my benevolent domination of the road.
Suddenly we blew our right rear tire and we started swerving wildly across the highway. That’s just what happens when a tire goes kablooey at 80 miles an hour. It’s enough to turn your pants into a scaredy salad.
Through quick thinking and sheer luck (luck that we’d passed the snowy/icy parts of the drive and luck I don’t like to text or talk on the phone while driving) we made it to the side of he road without literally flipping out.
We spent some quality time by the side of the road where everyone whooshed by us at terrifying speeds in close proximity. Eventually the AAA man came and put our donut on the car in place of the destroyed tire.
As you can see here, I am not kidding when I say ‘destroyed tire’. It looks like the U.S. economy and it will never again feel the hot kiss of asphalt passing beneath its treads.
Once we had the donut on the car we still had over 150 miles to drive before we hit home and we couldn’t exceed 55 miles an hour, the maximum a spare tire can take.
And so I began the long arduous process of driving 55 miles an hour. I never left the far right lane, I set the cruise control and then let the big rigs, the RVs and the idiots pass me by. They’d blow by and disappear into the distance and I’d think about how much sooner they’d be home than I would.
Slowly, though, I relaxed into this drive. There was no pressure to perform, I could rubberneck at accidents or the beautiful view in complete safety and I didn’t have to be concerned with looking out for cops with their radar guns.
Eventually we made it home and I found I’d actually enjoyed driving 55. Of course I could see the parallel to my own life, which is being lived at the highest rate of speed I can maintain. I know how stressful this lifestyle is and I’m pretty sure I can shake off my disdain for living in the slow lane if I try. But I’ll have to think about that later, right now I’ve got a million things to do in a short amount of time. Gotta go!