This past Saturday, my Lovely Wife and I left the comforts of house and home behind to travel to Orlando with our children.
Starting off from within North Carolina meant two-lane roads until we reached Interstate 95 at South of the Border, the tourist trap roadside fireworks stand that developed at some point in the not-too-distant past into a mini-carnival slash strip club mini-mall just over the border into South Carolina. At that point, you graduate to a four-lane highway with speed limits ranging up to 70 miles per hour.
In South Carolina, just as in North Carolina, slow drivers seem to understand their responsibility to keep to the right. Should they forget, all you have to do is start creeping up behind them. They catch sight of you in the rearview mirror, flip on their blinker, and move over to the right lane.
Halfway through Georgia, this understanding seemed to be slipping away. You know what I mean, don't you?
Pretend you're me, zipping along at a perfectly reasonable speed of say, 75 or 85 miles per hour. You come up behind someone in the fast lane who thinks maintaining speed limit is fast, so they refuse to move over.
"Put on your blinker!" you silently scream inside your head. They don't.
"Move over!!!" you add, again screamed inside your head but possibly muttered under your breath. Again, they don't.
After 12 miles of being boxed in by the driver in the fast lane who is keeping perfect pace with the semi in the center lane, you seize an opportunity to shift two lanes over to the right lane, pass the semi at about 90 miles per hour, pray there are no troopers watching, and eventually shift back to the fast lane ahead of Mr. Pokey and reduce speed to a reasonable 80.
By the time you reach the Florida border, every third driver is related to Mr. Pokey. Just so you know, Mr. Pokey is not always old, or a man. Any driver can be Mr. Pokey.
I would love to add Mr. Pokey as a character in every driver education program across the country. Have a voice kick in like Goliath the dog from the old clay-mation kids' show Davey and Goliath.
"What are you doin', Davey?" he would say.
"I'm trying to be a safe driver, Goliath," Davey would answer. "If I drive at speed limit in the fast lane then it will force everyone behind me to drive safely, too!"
"Oh, I don't think that's such a good idea, Davey," Goliath would advise. "Nobody likes a Mr. Pokey.""
"Why Goliath? Is that because trying to force other people to do what I think is right and safe might actually backfire and cause an accident because people aren't expecting someone to drive so slow in the fast lane?"
"No, Davey. It's a bad idea because that chubby, pale guy in the Honda mini-van is going to ram us!"
ⓒ 2010 Mark Feggeler