it was early morning one weekday seventeen years ago that it happened.
there was a chill in the air, a crispness that doesn’t freeze you to the bone, but it’ll brace your face when you walk outside from the womb-like warmth of your toasty bed and apartment. i noted the bright sun shining on my frozen breath as i got into betty’s car for the long drive to columbus.
betty was old even back then. she was an antagonistic, warm, funny, deaf crusader for the disabled whom i had hooked up with the previous year. she had been in charge of a group for hearing impaired individuals and i was on my way to learning about my own disability. she dragged me along to functions and hearings in the area that would bring about change, making life easier for those with physical impairments and challenges.
as we drove north on I-71 i couldn’t help but notice that she was in the fast lane. why couldn’t i help noticing this? the myriad of cars passing us on the right side, cursing at us, giving us the finger and glaring evil, menacing looks through their rolled up windows.
“betty,” i began, “why are you in the fast lane driving 55 miles per hour?”
“why shouldn’t i be in this lane driving 55?” came the reply.
“well, for one thing, all these folks are pretty pissed off who are passing you by. and that middle finger they keep waving at you? that’s not a way of telling you they think you’re number one.”
and then i knew i was gonna hear it.
“scotty, the speed limit is 55 miles per hour. i don’t think it’s fair that those people think they can drive whatever speed they want to and feel that i should just get out of their way. this is my way of making everyone follow the law! i’m trying to make things safer and remind people that laws are in place for a reason.”
so next time you get stuck behind That Old Woman on the highway driving the speed limit in the fast lane, just remember: they’re providing you a service and a friendly reminder.
and please… don’t tell them they’re number one.