Pitts: Slow-moving traffic | TheFencePost.com

Pitts: Slow-moving traffic

If all the cars in the world were placed end to end … they’d probably be behind a slow-moving cattle truck.

Everyone is in such a hurry these days they don’t have time to waste behind a Gooseneck filled with cattle. So they pass with no visibility or lay on their horns, as if that’s going to speed things up. They’ll risk their lives hurrying themselves to death so that they can get to their final destination earlier. And when I say “final” I mean final!

I prefer a less-hurried pace. I hate life in the fast lane with everyone crowding, shoving, pushing and running over each other. We live in a fast-paced world where we brag about the speed of our internet service and agonize over which would be faster, the escalator or the elevator? Everyone is so stressed out and in such a hurry that I heard of one housewife who quickly loaded her dirty plates and dishes in the microwave before rushing out the door only to discover upon her return that a microwave is not a dishwasher. We have a frenetic friend who loaded her 3-month-old baby in the baby carrier and then went off and left it and the baby sitting on the kitchen table.

I’ll never forget my first ranch job out of college when the owner wanted me to take the bobtail cattle truck and bring back a load of feed from the mill. No problem, I’m the son of a long-haul trucker and I know my way around a set of gears.

“The average driver will honk a horn 15,250 times in their life and many of the drivers behind me that day were using up half their quota.”

I was surprised he trusted me that much and that he didn’t want to tag along, but I quickly discovered the reason when I tried to navigate the two lane road around windy curves with steep grades and descents. I was soon being followed by a long line of cars and everyone had one hand on their horn.

The average driver will honk a horn 15,250 times in their life and many of the drivers behind me that day were using up half their quota. I’d have given anything for a bumper sticker that said, “Keep honking. I’m reloading.”

I subscribe to the theory that you should never drive faster than your age and If I recall correctly I was about 21 at the time. The speed limit in 1905 was 20 miles per hour and I think that was the year the truck I was driving was made. I considered driving in reverse up the steep grades because the reverse was geared lower and would probably have been faster. I was going so slow algae had time to grown on the tire treads.

I pulled over every chance I got but still every sports car or SUV that whizzed by me had a one finger salute thrust out the window. I was embarrassed and couldn’t say I blamed them because I had no right to slow them down. But what was I to do, disobey orders from the boss and get fired from my job that paid a whopping $600 a month? There was simply no other way to get to my destination.

Anyone who has driven a tractor on the asphalt or stopped traffic to drive sheep or cattle across a road has experienced the same hatred as I did that day. We ought to form our own victim’s group, get ourselves a high-priced lawyer and sue someone.

One wonders why all those irritated folks were all in such a big hurry anyway. If it was work, a doctor’s appointment or an IRS audit, what was the rush? I remember theorizing that perhaps they were all in such a hurry because they had to use the rest room facilities 10 miles distant, but I came to the conclusion that all of their bladders couldn’t have been that bad. I think it’s all just part of the human condition that says anyone who is going slower than you is a hayseed moron and anyone driving faster is a reckless maniac who is, “Going to get us all killed!”

It must have been especially humiliating and galling that day for all the high-speed drivers who flipped me off when I passed them in the slow lane when we all ended up at the same signal light together. ❖

Lee Pitts

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