Monday, February 4, 2008

Insanity Is a One-Way Street

Last week as I was driving through my neighborhood towards my house to retrieve my forgotten lunch from the refrigerator, which is not an uncommon experience in my work week, I encountered someone in the car ahead of me committing something so vile and reprehensible, so simultaneously annoying and enraging, so completely selfish and inconsiderate that I thought it should be listed as the eighth deadly sin: he was driving the speed limit.

But he wasn't just driving the speed limit. He was driving 30 miles an hour. As I trailed him in my car, knuckles white, brow furrowed, obscenities uttered, and as I tried in vain to use my Jedi mind tricks to propel his car faster down the curving road to my house, I decided that 30 miles an hour is the exact speed that will drive someone mentally insane.

If I ever become an evil genius and need to drive people insane, I am going to create time-sensitive tasks for them to do and then dictate that they can only accomplish them while driving in a car at 30 miles an hour. Then I'll sit back at my desk, tap my fingers together under my chin, and smile at nothing in particular while I rock slowly back and forth in my chair, because I am pretty sure that's what evil geniuses do, at least until we leave the room, at which point they probably check their email.

But back to what I was saying - driving at 30 miles an hour makes being in a car completely pointless. If you're going to take the trouble to get into a car, put on your seatbelt, and crank it up only to drive 30 miles an hour, then you should be ashamed of yourself. Make it worth the effort. Go 45.

Now, I can only complain too much. After all, I was the one who was late. And we were in a residential neighborhood. And I don't have the most illustrious driving record: I have my share of tickets, made worse due to sarcastic comments regarding the validity of the speed limit I had violated, and I have been to drivers' rehab more than once (I recommend the online version). I am a repeat offender, and I know I'll do it again. I can't help myself; I have a need for speed.

I understand the reasoning behind low speed limits in residential areas and I hypocritically tsk at the folks who whip around bus stops and buggy-pushing mothers. I just have a sneaking suspicion that the people responsible for coming up with the speed limits in my neighborhood are sitting behind big desks, tapping their fingers on their chins, and smiling at nothing in particular while they rock back and forth in their chairs.

So the next time you are stuck behind some pokey law-abiding citizen, gripping your steering wheel and trying to figure keep from ramming their car, think of me. If you're not too busy going insane, that is.

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