Sailing Over Speed Bumps

speed bumps, drivingI’m going to make a confession right here, in cyber space, where all can read and perhaps laugh at me, or maybe, worse, feel a bit sorry for me.

I have never raced over a speed bump.


I’ve never even thought to make it an option – to thumb my nose and not slow down at those ridiculously annoying concrete bumps that are put there to, uh huh, s  l  o  w  u s down.

But I reach an epiphany this week while driving with my friend MA to meet some others for a holiday dinner.

MA is driving her black Cadillac – yup, you read me right. She’s a Cadillac lover from way back, and I’ve never seen her drive anything else in the 20 years I’ve known her. I’ve also never dared scoff at the large lumbering piece of metal. Because, gosh darn it, it IS a good drive, sitting there in the passenger seat, 30 degrees outside but the seats warm from the rump all the way up to the neck.

But I digress.grandfather clock

We’re late for our dinner, gabbing too long in her living room first while MA eyes the beautiful grandfather clock standing sentry in the corner of the room.

She has not yet discovered that it’s running slow.

Time running slow – what a concept! In most of our lives, and I’m sure you’re nodding your head in agreement, time always runs too fast. So the long sips of tea in MA’s small cozy living room, with the clock ticking in a sonorous heavy-handed way, lures us into a false sense of time standing still

Until MA glances at her wrist watch and then the pretentious, portentous clock and screeches, “we’re late!” and I jump up to gather my overcoat and mittens and purse and she wipes on some lipstick and jumps out of her slippers into her heels and we both skedaddle into her big black Cadillac.

Boston driver

The Boston Driver by Christoph Hitz for The Boston Globe.

Screeching down her street I suck in a breath. MA is a good driver. But she’s a Boston driver. That may seem like an oxymoron, yet her use of the horn and finger, her grimaces and her epithets toward other drivers, her graciously waving a car along while speeding like Dale Earnhardt, Jr., all lead to a fascinating and generally safe ride.

Until we take a short cut on a side road and I shriek as she guns it over the impending speed bump straight ahead.

MA turns to look at me in shock. “What?” she asks. “Do you expect me to slow down over the bump?” She asks that so incredulously that I wonder for a second if I’ve suddenly slipped into a different universe.

“Um, yes,” I reply meekly.

“But that just makes the car jounce worse. You need to sail over it – not going faster than normal, but not slower either. Much smoother that way.”

I clamp down my objections as my brain races. Really? All this time, I’ve crawled to 1 mph while my tires oomph and umph and the car rocks unhappily side to side over a purposely-placed bump; should I have been doing the opposite?

So at 6 this morning, on my “wake-me-up” drive to the coffee shop, I take the back road with the two big bad speed bumps. The day’s still dark; most people are sweetly dreaming. I breathe in some courage and let my foot get a teeny bit heavy on the accelerator as I reach “the bump in the road.”

And guess what?

The car sighs in relief as we smoothly sail over the two offending annoying long lumps in the lane.

That’s when I realize there’s a moral to the story.

Can you guess what it is… and do you agree?

Happy New Year – here’s to sailing over the bumps in your life!

Happy New Year – here’s to sailing over
the bumps in your life!









(Photos courtesy of Google Images)

40 thoughts on “Sailing Over Speed Bumps

  1. What a great idea! All these years of not only slowing down, but with magnifying glass in hand, examining and analyizing every speed bump thoroughly before crossing has definitely impeded my life progress. I like trying better ways. Here’s to trying accelerating!


  2. My CT grandparents always told me Massachusetts drivers were the worst drivers! Excepting present company, I’m sure.P.S. You know I crawl over speed bumps….


  3. I’m too conservative – I won’t be testing the theory. I’m also determined not to make those electronic faces grumpy by going over the speed limit though most people take no notice.


  4. There aren’t many speed bumps in my area. But Walter’ always flies over the one I know of and I always cringe when I see it coming!! It feels like we are going to take off and fly away but fortunately we land on the other side of the bump!! However, I have hit many “bumps” in the road in my lifetime. Thankfully I have come out o.k.


  5. I have been on both ends of the spectrum – carefully navigating at snail speed over these speed bumps, and (ahem) sailing over them. Sometimes, when given the choice, I even purposely navigate around them when there is enough room in a parking lot etc. The lesson involved may not arrive on your doorstep quite so quickly, however 😉

    I will be the first to admit that I have neglected these pesky little barriers to our destination time and time again in order to seemingly glide over them and move forward. And I am none worse for the wear. It appears like everything has worked out exactly like I would have liked it – but, maybe it hasn’t. No one warned me how “shocked” I would be when shocks are worn down over time, alignment begins to slowly but surely get out of sync – shock and alignment are perhaps very good words in this case – for they serve us well in the land of metal automobiles as well as our personal lives.

    As with anything in life, for me at least, it comes down to balance. Too much sailing over the speed bumps will have long-term effects which may not seem evident right now. Slowing down to a crawl every time leaves us apprehensive and tense for what is to come. Neither is necessarily good on its own, but remaining aware of what we are doing and when we are doing it helps us to make the right decision in the moment 😉

    Sorry for the slightly lengthy dissertation – consider it a sign (a good one) that you have certainly got me thinking 🙂 Thanks for the thought-provoking post – may your future speed bumps be few, but recognizable so you can make the best choice in the moment 😉


    • Making choices between shock or alignment, balance or bellowing forth without worrying about consequences, being too cautious or too reckless. You’re right – how do we make the right decision when we are suddenly confronted with these choices? Well, I’m pretty much a ‘down the middle’ kind of girl – not too fast but not too slow, not too crazy but not too boring. How about you?


      • Heh heh heh, yep, I try to be a down-the-middle type of guy, but I have my moments where I venture out to the far end of both outlandish and overly conservative – probably more often than not the latter when the situation does arise. For me, I think it’s building up a strong internal foundation with a core set of values that points you in the direction you wish to go – before you run across these moments of choice. It makes those decisions that need to be made in a snap much more navigable, sometimes, dare I even say, fun 😉 I think we all need to push our envelope just a little bit in either direction to find out where our home lies. Hey, kids do it, why not adults too? 😉

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  6. I might tell you that there are three such speed bumps in my lot and each car that I have owned has repeatedly needed a right front axle due to sailing over them. Sometimes full steam ahead without regard for things can be…


    • So ‘my guy’ yelled out to me from the other side of the room as he read my post – “you’ll ruin the shocks!” Oops. I guess there are always consequences for taking some ‘short cuts’ through life (or the road), huh?


  7. Speed humps are even more fun; very roller coaster-y.

    Also, “speed hump” is a fine insult. Seriously. Can you think of a better way describe a person who is an obstructionist, inflexible, ill tempered, I’m-not-happy-unless-everyone-else-is-unhappy irritant?

    And, needless to say, “speed hump” is a better insult than “speed bump” because “hump” makes it almost sound dirty.


    • Hmm, speed hump must be a NJ expression.

      Actually, a while ago a friend began e-mailing me ‘happy hump day’ every Wednesday, and I couldn’t figure out WHAT she meant.
      She must have grown up in in NJ too.

      Wait a minute – so did I…!

      Here’s to happiness that neither you nor I are speed humps.


  8. Whllst I like the metaphor, I’m generally a rule-sticker and enforcer, and so while I was reading this, I couldn’t help thinking “But the purpose of the bumps is to slow people down for safety reasons because they want people to drive slowly down those roads for SAFETY reasons!” Sorry, I can’t help it, I’m always the one when I’m out with others who will be saying things like “Ooh, are we sure we’re allowed to sit here?”, “Do you think it’s ok for us to bring our own bottles of water in?”, “Don’t walk that way, it says Exit Only!”. Oh yes, I’m a blast like that 🙂


    • THANK you, Vanessa. I’ve been waiting for, dreading actually, the comments that would chastise me (you, dear one, did not chastise) about speeding over bumps that are meant to keep others safe from our large lumbering cars. Until you, no one said anything about that. Huh. But that was the first thing I thought of when I wrote this post. The place I ‘tried’ out my friend’s advice to sail over the bump is in a small lane that is no where near houses or people or anything but woods on each side. WHY they need a speed bump there is a mystery to all. That’s my excuse for forgoing safety and trying out my ‘new’ philosophy. But I must admit, by doing so, and hearing stories about how these bumps ruin cars, I really wonder if speed bumps are the best way to keep people safe. On the other hand, you and I are soul sisters – I’ve always been the one to wag my finger and say, ‘are we supposed to do that?’ 🙂


  9. I have done both…. not on purpose though. I do not like to “sail” over them. It is hard on the suspension of your car! I slow down because in my neighborhood, they are there for a reason! We have deer that like to roam around. About 20 head to be more precise and I have hit 2 in the 5 years we have lived here and I wasn’t speeding either time. In fact the second one was a doe and she actually ran into me following her baby across the road. It didn’t kill her…it just broke her leg. That is how slow I was going. I was so upset!! She hobbled off into the woods and probably died 😦 I was more concerned about her than I was my car!!
    But I also love your analogy about the “speed bumps” in our life…..I do like to sail right over those! 🙂
    Have a Happy New Yea Pamela!!


    • Oh noooooooooooo. Now you make me want to crawl over those speed bumps. No, not even crawl. To stop and go back home and think of Bambi and his mom. Okay, no sailing over speed bumps if people, dogs, cats, bears, deer, or squirrels are around.

      But metaphorically – go for it! 🙂 Happy Happy 2015 to you.


  10. Wow, I love this on the literal level, as well as the metaphorical! hubby is the type to sail over and I am the type to . . . well, analyze the bump. in fact, he tells me every day my responses to everything are analytical. And the other day my mother (who never analyzes a thing and is blissfully happy) said, “I don’t understand brainiacs [yes, she really said that hahahaha] like you and your Uncle Don. You give me too much stuff to do because you’re always thinking.” Thanks for a great read!


    • Fassssssssssssscinating. My guy is like you – a ‘brainiac.’ Haven’t heard that term in a long while! Back when it was first applied, it was a positive thing, then it became a scoff-full word, then when Steve Jobs ‘happened,’ ‘brainiacs’ began to rule the world again. Ha ha. But brainiacs can analyze so hard they forget to laugh and ‘let go,’ – am I right? I love your blissfully happy mom. I bet SHE sails over her speed bumps. 🙂


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