Speed is Relative

Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 by Alex R. Cronk-Young

Some time back when I was in middle school my family took a vacation up to a campground somewhere in the thumb part of Michigan. We set off in a convoy of rented RVs like some kind of awful Robin Williams movie off for an adventure of some kind. More than halfway through the trip we came behind a truck pulling a camper of it's own. As a car blew past both of us, my dad peeked around him preparing to pass when he stopped and settled back into his spot behind. "I was going to pass him, but I just realized he's going five over the speed limit already. I'm happy with that." my dad said to me.

When we come up behind that hulking camper, semi-truck, or other large vehicle on the highway, we're inclined to believe that we're going sooooooo slooooooooow, when in reality we're probably travelling the speed limit. It's just easy to perceive things as going much slower or faster depending on the situation we're in.

This has been thoroughly cemented in my mind because I now deal with it every single day. I'm firmly of the belief that just like a large camper in front of you on the highway will make you think you're going very slow, a 20-something delivering mail or newspapers in your rich neighborhood will make you think they are SPEED DEMONS OMG SLOOOW DOOOWN! That was a long sentence. Oh well.

As a newspaper carrier I've heard this constantly. Funnily enough, only when I drive through one of those little subdivisions with the culdesac at the end. People live on those for the very reason that they can let their children run wild without respecting the road or the cars on it at all. On more than a few occasions I have been stuck barely crawling behind a group of kids walking down the middle of the street without ever noticing me behind them. They don't teach their children to be wary of the road, and then they get pissed off at you for even entering their neighborhood.

The first time they yelled at me to slow down as I passed I was befuddled. I looked down and confirmed that I was going just over 20 mph. Well, I guess that's why they never wave back to me. So I specifically kept my speed to exactly 20 mph from then on, so that if they said anything again I could throw it back in their face. I'd turn in behind one of their neighbors in a big SUV and they would be completely down the street before I even made it halfway, but I kept to 20.

A little while ago as I went to pass the group of snobby broads one of their husbands stepped out into the road and held up his hand. I rolled down my window and he asked me to slow down. I let it all loose. I was going 20 mph and was making sure of it. One of the bitches let out, "The speed limit is 15 through here." from the back. "Alright," I said, "You wanna tell me your neighbors are going 15 when I'm making sure to go 20 and they fly ahead? I stick at 20-25 until I see a child and then I crawl past them, watching to make sure they don't run out."

The husband seemed satisfied. Actually, he seemed upset he'd even been forced into this confrontation in the first place. He was literally backing away with his hands up saying that all sounded fine and he just wanted to make sure. The gabbing bitches behind him seemed completely unconvinced, but unless I get rich, buy an SUV, and move into the neighborhood I think they always will. If I ever come across a large sum of money, the first thing I'm going to do is build a highway through the middle of their neighborhood. Maybe then they'll stop judging people and teach their kids to be careful of the roads.

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