I can think of no one less temperamentally suited to driving a sports car than I. And yet there I was on Sunset Blvd in rush hour traffic, ‘leading’ a pack of cars – most of whom seemed to salute my speed with their middle finger. I drive like a grandmother. And if you don’t like it, well, then you can drive. And many have, unable to sit idly in the passenger seat while I navigate from my comfort zone.
I have no need for speed. Zip. Nada. None. I wear a metaphorical Scarlet S – for slow, not speed. The number on my speedometer is amongst the few metrics I accept about myself.
My children are different. They run. They ride rollercoasters. They ski. On mountains. Downhill. And fast. They ski with their father and friends who are more fearless than I. It’s both good and bad that their comfort with speed exceeds mine – by many miles.
“My brother can drive us. He just got his license.” And off to dinner went my daughter and her friend—with her friend’s 17-year-old, cautious brother. But what about other drivers? What about when my daughter herself gets her license? What about Uber? There are so many dangers that face our children. Dangers that were not part of my childhood. Social media. And driving. I grew up in Manhattan and thus didn’t learn to drive until I was 19. I didn’t need to drive – NYC has a vibrant public transportation network. And taxi cabs. When I finally took driving lessons it was on congested NYC streets. Then I took my new skills to Boston and its suburbs where there was never room to zoom. I got from point A to point B surely, safely and on time. So, what if I was in the car for a couple of extra minutes? I was safe.
I move through this world slowly. Safely. Surely. At my own pace. People are so busy racing to get through the yellow light that they forget that there is beauty to be enjoyed when you stop. We race to get our thoughts out in 140 characters, ignoring the wisdom of contemplation. Speed is a drug – our lengthy ‘to do’ lists demand we tick off tasks with alacrity – we’re too important to slow down.
I speak quickly – my mouth racing to keep up with my thoughts. I like to think I’m quick of wit, and sometimes even wisdom. But there are roses to smell. Wonders worth slowing down to behold.
I’ll continue to move slowly through this life allowing only my mind to race. There is inspiration in stopping at lights, observing the route instead of focusing solely on the destination. Besides, it’s safer that way.