I am a people watcher. Nothing is as fascinating as observing the behaviour of strangers in airports, restaurants , on city streets or on the highway. And yesterday as I was driving east on the Trans Canada from my place in the country,I was treated to a comedy show of driving pecadilloes.
I have been known to push the accelerator to the floor or as the saying goes “put the pedal to the metal”. These days though I am more cautious. Perhaps it is because like most people over sixty, I am hanging on to every minute of living that I have left. So I watch my cholesterol, carbohydrate, sodium, fat, alcohol and caloric intake. I no longer smoke, drink , or think negative thoughts. I am the epitome of Mazlow’s self actualized robot.
Thus I chugged along the highway at a mere one hundred five kilometres per hour. I am told that the police won’t issue a ticket for going up to ten kilometres an hour above the speed limit. My cruise control set , all I had to do was ensure I didn’t come rocketing up to any vehicle in front of me, highly unlikely on the highways of this province or any other province for that matter. The average speed is somewhere around mach 1 . Most of the people driving these days are much younger than me and haven’t yet realized their mortality. Those over sixty are dying off , suffering the after affects of stroke, glaucoma or other diseases and sensibly staying at home or leaving the driving to their younger family members. I have no other choice. If I want to travel I must do it myself. So I am the Ole Timer that I used to roll my eyes at thirty years ago. It still surprises me that I have lived these many years and still feel everyone should remark on my youth.
Anyway , as I whizzed along in my happy state of oblivion, I was completely unaware of the line of traffic that was building up behind me. Nor could I hear the expletives of the younger set that formed the slithering snake of automobiles that measured a kilometre back towards the town I had just left.
It wasn’t until a car passed me going just a conservative speed of perhaps one hundred ten kilometres per hour that I chanced a glance in the mirror. At the same time my attention was drawn to the lights on the roof of the car that was passing me. They weren’t flashing . But they would have been if I hadn’t set my cruise control. It was a police car.
Within a few seconds it was a short distance ahead of me and I would imagine that there were only two drivers who realized the fellow who passed me was a policeman. So it was amusing to watch each car of the two hundred or so behind me pass one by one. Fortunately there were two lanes because as each vehicle passed me at sonic speed it had to slow down with a screech of brakes to ensure it did not pass the police car up ahead. One by one they fell into line each zooming up abreast the car following directly behind the cop and squeezing in at the first available opening. Eventually there were two traffic lanes lined up behind the police vehicle and not one vehicle would take the chance and pass. A two headed serpent was winding the length of the highway at one hundred ten kilometres per hour. And I was chuckling to myself as I watched the bare expanse of highway well up ahead . I could imagine the impatience of those pilots who like horses at the gate were chafing at the bit. I cruised along listening to the music of the sixties. I tapped my free foot. There was no rush. I had the rest of my life to get to my destination.