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Monday, April 18, 2016

Sometimes I just like to drive fast


An essay on not losing your edge.

All the years I exhibited at art shows, I drove at least thirty thousand miles a year, in all kinds of conditions. I learned how to drive in everything; only ice kept me off the road. I always drove fast.

Driving is a pretty boring occupation; the sooner it’s over the better. I drove standard transmission cars from the onset of my driver’s license until I drove extended vans; I know how to handle a vehicle, from a sporty little turbo six speed to a high profile van.

Oh, and I rode a motorcycle for years, too. Now, that’s a vehicle to handle. When put to it, I could lay sparks on the road.

That was all a long time ago. Now I drive a car friends call The Red Bullet, but it’s just a sturdy, automatic transmission, compact crossover that sits the road.  If I’m in a thoughtful, meandering mood, I obey the speed limits and enjoy the ride. My dad and my sister would be so proud. Dad taught us that if our passenger’s knees moved, we were a careless driver. My sister still obeys the rule of the knees.

The roads I drive to work wind steeply into the valley. In the olden days, good motorcycle roads. On a morning the blood needs a little pumping, a fine road to handle. Two handed driving, eyes open for wildlife, and those motorists who brake at every hill and curve. They certainly ruin a good road.

The road I take almost every morning is posted forty miles per hour. Many years ago it was fifty, but too many teenagers didn’t know how to drive it that fast, so it’s forty, now. I’ve never exceeded sixty, on a fine day with a tail wind. But the one day I hit the sweet spot going into the last bend, what came up the hill but two village patrol cars. Two!

The first rule of exceeding the speed limit is: don’t give them the satisfaction of braking. As a courtesy, I do lift my foot from the accelerator. As we crossed at the curve I had the sight of two flat light bars blazing, one in my rear view mirror and one in the passenger side mirror.  They were out of sight in a second. I knew the soonest they could turn around would be the Boy Scout camp, and I would be nailed before I passed the golf course and stopped at the stop sign.

It never happened.

I recognized one of the officers, and the next time I saw him he said don’t do That again, and I would know what he meant. I generally don’t. But sometimes I need to be sure I haven’t lost my edge.








29 comments:

  1. Ha, I just can't imagine you being anything but a fiend for speed.

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  2. You go, Joanne! Carefully, of course.

    This post made me smile!

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  3. Love it! You'd zip by me, that's why Mrs. C drives.

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  4. Ahh the fun of the road never drove in my life but am a happy passenger, liked to ride in the big trucks with the beer fairy when he was driving.
    He stopped about 3 years ago said he was tired of it, now doesn't drive at all.
    Merle..........

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  5. I have slowed down a lot in my old age. I used to love getting on the open road a driving along with the wind in my hair. My reflex time is longer than it used to be. And I can no longer stand my hair in my face as I drive. I got old. Sigh.

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  6. I have slowed down. My wife drives faster than me but she will argue that. I usually go over the speed limit by 5-10 mph in good conditions. What I don't do is tailgate. I get so annoyed by drivers that are driving right on top the car in front. I think they can't stand to have open road in front of them.
    Be careful.

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  7. Ha! Ha! I like to drive fast too. But I rarely do anymore as I usually have a teen in the car and I want them to do as I say, not as I do!!

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  8. Son enjoyed driving fast to the tune of two tickets six months apart :) He has learned the joy of speed control :)

    It is good though to not have lost your edge with driving :)

    betty

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  9. As rapidly as my tremors, etc... have improved since getting to Florida, I may be joining you in the joy of riding the edge. Huzzah!

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  10. I enjoyed my motorbike with I had it, but never learned to drive a car. I had a couple of lessons from a friend of mum's, but then he moved away, so I got the bike. I always stuck to speed limits though, I didn't have the bike long enough to feel comfortable challenging the rules.

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  11. Hari OM
    Just can't be done here in Scotland - roads are too narrow, bends too tight and there are idiots who like the centre-line. I don't intend to meet them too suddenly. On the motorways I still can't speed - or more correctly, Li'l Ren can't speed. She's getting old! In Oz, though, ah well, another world entirely... YAM xx

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  12. oh I figured you to be a fast driver, 30 k miles a year, yikes; I can't afford any tickets or an increase of my insurance so I drive the speed limit maybe on the freeway a bit over but not anywhere else, but I used to drive fast, once when I lived on a very curvy mtn road someone followed me all the way home and then the lights went on and the police man came up to my car and said "you are a very good driver, you didn't cross the yellow line even once all the way up the road" ha I never fail to remind dh of that story.

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  13. I didn't get my driving license until in my mid-50's! Only reason was that I had to drive my parents around and we had to get my father out from behind the wheel of his car. Only time I dared to speed was on Vermont I-91 going to St. Johnsbury with my parents. My dear father never said a word though his eye was firmly on the speedometer when I hit 90! I've never got my license in the UK. Much too difficult to pass the testg!

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  14. Bad girl Joanne. I had a Mazda Miata once.

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  15. Oh Joanne - how fortunate to know people in high places at the right time.

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  16. Great! Though I love the calm way Americans drive (in Germany everyone can drive on the Autobahn as quick as their car permits - and they do, even if they cannot/know not how to drive...) A motor cycle: super! (It was always my dream).
    I remember that I drove my Lancia Beta 2000 quite speedy - but as soon as I had a child, I drove Volvo, and always very careful. So time - and we - change.

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  17. I sat in the passenger seat (very happily) for years and then circumstances changed and I have to do all the driving now. Not the fastest thing on 4 wheels, but I'm getting to enjoy the challenge.

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  18. Oh a woman after my own heart. I don't speed a lot, but there are certain roads that just beg for it. I've only driven stick shift cars, wouldn't know how to drive an automatic. I think everyone should drive a stick, than they wouldn't be able to text and drive.

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  19. I'd say that I'm surprised that you rode a motorcycle, but nothing about you surprises me, however, some things amaze me. You are one very cool lady.

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  20. You will NEVER lose your edge, Joanne!!

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  21. I forgot to tell you that you are in good company. Eleanor Roosevelt loved to drive fast.

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  22. Once a badass, always a badass. I love the image of you on a motorcycle...and I had never heard that tip about not seeing the passenger's knees move when driving. Now I'm going to be watching that. I mean, when I start driving again. Hee.

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  23. I drive fast. I have always driven fast and guess I always will. I like to drive fast. I used to have a little MGB. I got pulled over recently in town. I don't know how fast I was going, the officer didn't say but knowing my comfort zone I was probably going about 45 in a 30 mile zone. because I'm a little old lady and told the officer I just wasn't paying attention, he just gave me a warning. the speed limit on the highway in my county is 75. you won't catch me doing less than 80 (and I have to keep my eye on it or I will be doing 85).

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  24. I bought a new car, but I don't drive it very often.

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  25. Now that neither one of us is driving an extended van, I too fear we will lose our edge. You know I drive fast, never brake when I see a cop and know that once in awhile we need to "open it up". You need to post you and your motorcycle.

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  26. You are, as they say, a pistol!
    Good for you!

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  27. You go, Girl! Pedal to the metal sort of thing!

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