It turns out that when I drive I am totally that old lady you hate to follow, the one who’s always going slightly below the speed limit, stopping for all the pedestrians and cyclists and letting other people into her lane and otherwise slowing you down on your very important rush to wherever you’re going.
Mostly, I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m used to traveling the world at the speed of bicycle. When I travel, I’m accustomed to and thus feel like I should always be able to see what’s going on around me, turn my head to look at something for a second — heck, I’m even used to being able, if there are no other cyclists behind me, to stop randomly in the middle of the lane to gawk at an overhead hawk or a frolicking baby racoon or a quail running for the bushes.
(or, even to get off my — er, my brother’s;) — bike and take pictures in the middle of the path;)
When I drive now, I carry that muscle memory of observation with me. And with that comes the feeling that it’s just not safe to drive quickly if I’m concurrently trying to be aware of everything going on around me.
So, I don’t mean to, but I take in as much of my surroundings as I can and sloooooow down until I look at the speedometer and realize that I’m not going as fast as I “should” be, which triggers an effort to get back up to speed, until I sloooow down again, and the process repeats itself. I remember this kind of thing driving me crazy when my dad and I drove up to Portland when I first moved here — I couldn’t fathom why why why he kept slowing down and couldn’t just drive the damn speed limit and get us to Portland already.
Ha! Apparently I’m that person now. Sorry, folks behind me. (But hey! Look at that quail!!:)