Right before The Grade, a land elevation separating our local bedroom community from large metropolitan area, is a flat stretch of highway. Knowing momentum is quickly lost, cars zip along at 80+ miles an hour to jump-start their ascent.
Little sports cars compete with multi-cylindered, high-rise revved-up, lifted pickup trucks. Those compete with impatient drivers of sedans, minivans, and SUVs zig-zagging their way up and over.
It’s comical watching the obvious furor and frustration on drivers’ faces when a semi moves into their lane to pass an even slower truck, or a huge SUV has the audacity to zip into the tiny space a sport’s car was going to claim.
Puttering up The Grade in my Classic VW Beetle, I have plenty of time to observe this and more. The car, like me, has seen better days. Like me, it’s no longer in its prime and it shows. I have always wanted to fix it up, but that’s not in the budget. Even were I were so inclined, fixing me up (nipping and tucking) is not the in the budget.
However, like me the Bug has found its rhythm and keeps moving forward.
It’s a relief in knowing I will never be a wunderkind. There’s also a relief and quietness which comes with driving in the slow lane. The Bug goes so slow I have to engage the hazard lights. That makes going over The Grade one of the few times in my life I let go. There’s no need to push. The Bug and I will get to the top — eventually — usually only a minute or two after the others.
Rather than all the rushing, lane changing, horn honking, and etcetera, I get a mini vacation. A few moments in which to relax, to let go. I have the time to look around, to notice the beauty of the mountains. I can think my thoughts without having to look for an open spot in the lane next to me. I have no need to keep a running commentary about those who have the audacity to think they can take the spot I’ve pegged as “mine.”
Ironically, when driving my other car which can zip over The Grade, I join the ranks of speeders, zippers, honkers, and running commentators. My intent and focus becomes on getting to the top, fast. I don’t know why, perhaps because I can. (I look forward to the day when I act on the wisdom of “just because I can, doesn’t necessarily mean I should.”)
I prefer going over The Grade in the Bug. There’s a comfort in accepting that on this one portion of the road I’m in the slow lane.
Contrary to what I’ve heard “Them” say, moving slow and taking in the sights along the way doesn’t mean lack of ambition, it simply means I’m okay reaching my destination a little later. That frees me up to enjoy the moment a bit more. I will probably be more relaxed when I arrive.
Whether fast or slow, I still have a direction and purpose. It’s just when I’m driving the Bug I don’t find it necessary to try to keep up with the others. I find I am content and at peace. Both of which I will happily embrace. So just for today, I am going to incorporate that principle to my life.
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