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.
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.
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?
(Photos courtesy of Google Images)