How are you self-righteous poky slowpokes adjusting to the new law against left-hand-lane dawdling?
Oh, just kidding. Relax! (Also, speed up a little.) We’re advised that the new law is not permission to speed, but if I can speak the truth that we avoid: I’ve never been behind a slow driver in the left-hand lane who wasn’t going the speed limit.
And I’ve never been behind one who cared that they were blocking traffic. No one sees something looming in the rearview mirror and thinks: “This person needs to be somewhere, and I am delaying them by two or perhaps three seconds. I should assume they are carrying a liver for transplant, and the life of a small, poignant child hangs in the balance. While I would like to give them ample time to read all my bumper stickers, it would be only right to move out of the way so they can race up to tailgate the next car in the lane.”
No. They are in another world entirely, an adamantine cocoon that cannot be penetrated by the ominous proximity of your car. If they do notice you, it will cause a surge of indignance: “I will not help you break the law.”
They are different from the sub-speed-limit confounders. There are times on the parkway (speed limit 25 miles per hour, as if it’s 1917) when the car in front is doing 22. It feels like the speed of a slug crawling on hot sandpaper, and yeah, I’ve been righteously annoyed. If the driver checked the rearview mirror and read my lips, he or she might see I was saying something like this:
“Scenic though the route may be, your pace suggests that you fear your vehicle will fly apart into a blizzard of rivets should you accelerate to 25 and suffer the grievous effects of centrifugal force, your very face rippling like those 1950s rocket-sled riders, but none of us are getting any younger here, pal. Of course, no one gets younger; that is the nature of time. But we are moving at a pace previously associated with Conestoga wagons that plied the empty prairie. Might you hasten our convoy along?”
Or, er, two or three words to that effect.
Sometimes the driver will pull over, and I immediately feel guilty. Relieved, yes, because now I can punch it to 27 like a mad homicidal hot rod scofflaw with a skull on the gearshift knob and a leather jacket announcing membership in the Dead-Ender Gang. But also guilty: I shouldn’t have made you feel bad about your speed. I mean, I wish you had come to that realization on your own.
It’s so Minnesotan.
If they pull out behind me after I’ve passed, it’s a judgment: “Far be it from me to keep you from running over someone. I’ll hang behind you now so I can dial 911 after you enter an intersection on yellow and T-bone a bus from the orphanage.”
Can you imagine the State Patrol actually pulling over someone who’s doing the speed limit in the left-hand lane? The second we see the cop car behind us, we slow, because we believe that hitting the brakes is some magical indemnification. It’s like your spouse catching you in bed with someone else, and your first reaction is to jam on your wedding ring.
Besides, it would seem to be an easy ticket to contest. It’s like being arrested for shoplifting while you’re in line at Target.