Country road, take me home

“Where are you?” Martin demands over the phone.
“I know, I’m late. But I’m on the road…. just stuck behind one of My People.”
That’s what we call slow drivers. My People. Because they always seem like roving roadblocks, devoted to sabotaging my speedy commute.

That’s the curse of country living. Winding, two-laned roads with sporadic passing opportunities. And lurking on these routes are far too many people — piloting too many vehicles — who fall into these catagories:

  1. trucks burdened with listing loads of lumber, hay or equipment. (ok technically, you folks are exempt)
  2. vehicle (often a minivan), operated by a driver with a cell phone affixed to cheek, head frequently facing occupants in back seat; speed inconsistent; car drifting in lane.
  3. driver poking along, in search of vegetable stand in March.
  4. driver poking along while gazing aimlessly out window, brainwashed by the miracle of growing grass and the beauty of majestic horses wearing soiled winter blankets.
  5. individuals of any age, nationality or gender, driving at or below speed; reason unknown. Country road-factor: suspect.

These are My People. And chances are, I’m stuck behind one of them because:

  1. rural living means lots of driving. And,
  2. I’m always late and in a hurry. (caveat: I do spare the speed when passing through little clustered, country towns.)

On occasion, however, on the open rural road, I encourage one of My People to pull off to the shoulder and let me pass.

“You tailgate!” Martin shouts accusingly.

“I do NOT tailgate…. I simply make my presence known.”

“Well how come I never run into Your People?”

“Because you’re a hobbit and you never leave the farm. You have to actually drive to encounter others.”

Martin and I discuss driving tactics while en-route to dinner. And as usual, we’re late, so I’m driving. Because the hobbit is rarely gripped with the need for speed.

“See, here’s one of My People right now,” I announce, gesturing at a back end of a white sedan ahead, moving suspiciously at My People pace.

“Jo, they’re a half-mile away!” Martin counters.

“Not for long,” I say. Trees and pasture fencing whirl by in a black and green blur. Martin braces his feet against the floor boards and clutches the handle over the passenger door.

His dramatic displays aside, I know that I’m a sensible driver.

I’m merely zippy and efficient. I don’t care what the auto repair guy says.

“What have you been doing to this car?” the auto repair guy asked Martin last week. We had dropped the car for service (including a repair of the broken windshield wiper). “I don’t know how you did it, but you burned through a set of new tires in a year,” the auto guy said with wonder. “And the brakes… it looks like a New York cabbie’s been driving this thing.”
“Well?” Martin said, staring at me after he hung up. “It’s official. You’re killing the car.”

It’s not me.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m innocent.

It’s My People.