Conversations With The Car In Front Of Me
“The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
Patience and other lessons from the highway
So, by now you know that I just got back from a pretty long road trip. In fact, it was the longest road trip I’ve ever been on. Here’s the numbers:
Photos made: 8943
Miles traveled: 3184
Cups of coffee consumed: 27
Days on the road: 14
States visited: 6
Driving is something I’ve always enjoyed. Maybe you do too. I love the open road and the hum of rubber on asphalt. I love driving hell bent for leather on the interstate, chewing up the miles. I love poking along two lane highways through one-stoplight towns, taking in the sights. If you’re paying attention, there’s always something interesting to see. All my best ideas come to me when I’m driving. I always keep a little notebook and a pen in the car, or at least a voice memo recorder…. anything to get the ideas recorded.
However, over the miles, I have noticed that there is a certain…. um… deficiency… in the driving skills of some travelers. Which leads to a certain amount of… ahh… tension. Yeah, tension. Perhaps you’ve noticed this phenomenon. Or perhaps you haven’t, which might lead one to think… oh, never mind.
Sometime after the first thousand miles, I started imagining what I might say to certain drivers if I had the chance. At first, I wasn’t very original, or even very considerate. Most of my comments were a bit like, You #$%%$ of a goat’s %$##@!!! What the #@&%$ are you %#@@^& doing?
But slowly my attitude changed, and mellowed out. I started trying to imagine what might be happening with them to make them act so peculiarly. Perhaps they were on their way to important things. Like international championship llama races. Or maybe that other car had to be careful not to spill the precious iguana milk they were carrying in open containers in the trunk of their car. Suddenly, things made much more sense. And then I realized that these people may actually be the most skilled drivers, just terribly misunderstood. And compassion blossomed. Well, sometimes. Other times, perhaps I was a bit sarcastic.
But in the interest of journalistic integrity, I’m going to share my unabridged, unedited, uncensored actual thoughts with you. Oh, and some photos too. Of Shenandoah National Park. It’s wicked pretty and a perfect compliment to this topic. Um, yeah.
1. “While I completely support your wish to go 0.037mph faster than that car you are driving beside (who I’ve also noticed is driving 7mph less than the speed limit), me & the 16 cars behind me would kinda like it if you would go 5mph faster just until you pass that car, instead of taking the next 27 miles to pass him.”
2. “It was really neat how you stopped at the gate and asked the ranger questions for 15 minutes while we all waited even though there was a parking area right beside the gate and another ranger inside just to answer questions.”
3. “Those artificial testicles hanging from your bumper (they ARE artificial, right?) are very charming. I bet your mama is really proud.”
4. “I love how you decided to pass that other tractor trailer while going uphill 15mph less than the speed limit.”
5. “Tail gating me isn’t gonna make the 17 cars in front of me go any faster. No, seriously.”
6. “Some people are able to talk on their cell phones and operate their vehicles safely. You are not one of those people. Hang up and drive, or pull over and talk.”
7. “I love how you drive that shiny sports car 5mph less than the speed limit and slam the brakes every time a squirrel glances at you.”
8. “You’re right, slowing down and braking to change lanes is definitely the safest way to do it.”
9. “No way YOUR kid is on the honor roll. Did you adopt?”
10. “It was really cool how the gravel flew out behind your car as you pulled out in front of me. Don’t worry though, since my brakes are new, I was able to slow down and miss you, and I wasn’t even a little worried that anyone was going to hit me since I was the only car around for miles and miles. Seriously, there hasn’t been a car behind me for dozens of miles, although you probably couldn’t tell since I was coming down a hill toward you, even though it seems like the view must have been unobstructed. Anyway, I’m just relieved I didn’t keep you from being able to go down the road at 23mph so you could make that left turn after 300 yards. Kinda weird how you were in such a hurry to get on the road though.”
11. “Repeat after me: ‘Keep right except to pass.’ Say it again: ‘Keep right except to pass. Keep right except to pass. Keep right except to pass’.”
And that’s what I came up with over the course of 3184 miles. I’ll bet you have some things you’d like to say to the driver of that other car. If it won’t make a sailor blush, maybe you could share a few in the comments section. Actually, I’d probably rather hear the ones that would make a sailor pale. 😛
Hello. My name is Amanda. I make neat pictures of nice people, drink coffee and whiskey (sometimes at the same time), and travel. I love traveling so much, I won't charge you any travel fees to photograph your wedding. Check out my travel info page for all the details. And see my blog for all the cool photos.
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