Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Don't Drive Like My Brother

Ok, in defense of both of my brothers, they probably drive just fine. I know one is a back seat driver, so I prefer to let him drive so he doesn't criticize me, but that's besides the point. This isn't about my literal brother but my figurative ones. Sisters too.

I live in New York. Even though I'm upstate, we're sort of known for our aggression and the speed with which we do things. I lived for a time in Massachusetts, and it's even worse there. It's fine with me. I'm a Northeastern girl. I like to go-go-go.

When I moved to Ohio, I was immediately and intensely frustrated by the slowness with which mid-Westerners move. They are never in a hurry for anything. Drove me crazy. Of course, I married a mid-Westerner. I don't know what I thought would happen. After 14 years together, he's still as slow and I'm still chomping at the bit. But for all the slowness in Ohio, I noticed something that we in NY tend to lack--friendliness. The first time I was in Kroger in Cincinnati and someone started talking to me, I had a death grip on my purse, sure someone was going to steal my wallet. Turns out, people are just warm and friendly. Moving more slowly through life allows that opportunity.

Same thing with driving. In Ohio, if you're trying to merge, people let you right in. In NY, cutting people off is an art form. But with the holiday season approaching, you just know traffic is going to be bad. It's the day before Thanksgiving and we're getting snow. I have to go out in a little while, and I am hoping that, at least in the spirit of the season, people take it slow. They let that car merge in front of them (guess what? Doing that actually helps the flow of traffic). They don't race for that parking spot, cutting people off the the process. They let that harried mom with the three kids in tow cross the street in front of them.

Unless you're travelling a long distance, speeding up doesn't actually save you any appreciable time. Slow it down and let someone turn in front of you. You'd be surprised at how good it can make you feel.

Happy Bird-day to those in the US!

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This post is dedicated to Tom Magiolzzi, who passed away recently. I listened to Car Talk on NPR more Saturdays (and Mondays when they played the re-runs) than I  can even count. The Tappet brothers were great for car advice, puzzlers, and many laughs. And they closed every show with the line, "Don't drive like my brother!"

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