Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

My Life in the Slow Lane

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

My Life in the Slow Lane

Article excerpt

There are moments in life when you're in the middle of some activity and think, "I love doing this. Love it!" Maybe it happens on the golf course, or camping, or when you're having dinner at a favorite restaurant. There are so many things to love about modern life.

I'm in love with 35 miles per hour.

It's a difficult kind of love to talk about in this era of TV commercials and big-budget movies that constantly promote and glorify images of supercharged vehicles with roaring engines and smoking tires thundering across city streets in endless pursuit of high-octane adventure.

My personality has never had a fast-and-furious side. This aversion to speed began early: I learned to ski during elementary school, and while everyone around me was schussing and swooping downhill, I got really good at traveling along in short segments of about one or two hundred feet, then pulling off to a secluded spot where I could rest, survey the surrounding terrain, and plan the next portion of my methodical, low-risk descent.

I vividly recall going to Disneyland as a young teenager and being emotionally thrashed on the Matterhorn bobsled ride. Other kids were howling with delight at the sharp turns and steep drops while I was mentally repeating the phrases "Please be over soon" and "I don't want to die."

In high school, I thoroughly enjoyed driver's education class because of the no-need-to-hurry approach the instructors emphasized. The day my ride-along teacher said, "OK, I think we're ready for the expressway" wasn't an occasion for any internal celebration.

Do not, however, assume I spend most of my road time cowering behind the steering wheel. Freeway fright is not my copilot. After 45-plus years on the road, I can handle a vast range of traffic tribulations. I've had my share of white knuckles and sweaty palms but not one accident since a fender bender in college. …

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