There’s a certain unspoken understanding between people that drive the same way: people who drive slow, people who are overly cautious, people from California – they all have certain idiosyncrasies that stick out if you happen to share them. If you’ve ever been on a long trip – longer than a few hours – you’ll probably be familiar with what I’m talking about.
For instance, on my last cross-country trip to California/Nevada (and back again, naturally) there were people who were enjoying the trip more than the destination, taking their time, just drinking in the sights and generally letting the journey relax them so they could better enjoy the vacation they were traveling to.
I am not one of those people.
When I’m going somewhere, especially on a long trip, chances are I’m going to be on an interstate. The interstate system was not designed to be scenic. It was designed to get the military from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. When the military wants to get somewhere, they do not fuck around. Likewise, when I want to get somewhere, I want to get there as quickly and efficiently as possible.
So I hit the road, do my responsible 4 miles over the speed limit and turn on cruise control. Before long, I find that I’m switching lanes and keeping pace with the same several cars. Several cars that are driving in precisely the same way I am, passing when I pass, speeding up when I speed up, and generally being several of the most awesome people on the road because they are driving like I drive.
I had something very similar happen to me today while driving into work. I’m driving behind someone who is just maddeningly slow, doing roughly 5MPH slower than the speed limit and generally slowing up traffic. So as soon as I was able to get around this person, I did. I didn’t whip around them like a total asshole, but I changed lanes, and sped up…only to run into someone doing the exact same thing. ARGH!
But as I made that lane change, I noticed something interesting – someone two cars ahead doing the same thing. So we’re both changing lanes courteously – but with purpose – trying to get to where the traffic didn’t suck quite so much. After a mile or so, and right before I have to turn off, I pull up alongside this person and take a look because let’s admit it: you really want to get a look at the only other person on the road who isn’t driving like they’ve been huffing gas fumes all night. Turns out it was a somewhat attractive woman who looked to be about my age, and she had the same look in her face that I had on mine: “Hey, you suck marginally less than everyone else on the road! Nice!”
Sure it could have been all in my head, but either way, it set an awesome tone for the rest of the day.