Need for Speed · 3 April 2007

I used to feel the need for speed every time I hopped in my car but time and kids have convinced me that I do not need to go as fast as I can all the time. Oh sure, I would love to take a spin on the Autobahn at over 100 miles per hour or drive in Montana during the day at around 80 to 90. As long as my kids are somewhere else while I am doing it.

As much as I believe time and age mellow people, I do not think that they have been the biggest factors in changing my driving habits. Just as speeding tickets only change driving habits for a short time, age often just pushes the need below the surface. At least it did for me. As I got older, I would slow down for a while but then I would need to go fast again. I used to like driving on the freeway following a fair distance away from somebody who was going really fast who could be the “rabbit” to fall into the speed trap ahead. Now, I just want to get off the freeways. Usually that is because they are often parking lots rather than something like the Autobahn. Still, even when there are open roads to travel, I do not feel that burning desire to go really fast.

The biggest reason for my driving slower has not been my age but rather the age of my children. As they got to the point where they could be the ones running out into the street to get the ball, I started to think that I needed to slow down. At first, it was just in residential areas where I knew that there were kids. Then, I slowed down in places where there might be kids. And finally, I have pretty much slowed down to what the speed limit says, whether there is a possibility of kids or not. In residential areas, I often go even slower than the speed limit.

Now I am sure that some of my younger readers will think that I am just an old fuddy duddy (if they even know what that means) but I just do not need to go that fast anymore. I am reasonably certain that I pay enough attention to the road to anticipate most kids jumping out in front of me. I am not so worried that I will wreck somebody’s life by running somebody down. But I am certain that those three or five or even ten miles per hour will not really change my life that much.

When I drive down highway 203 in the mornings to get to work, I am amazed at some of the drivers who pass on the narrow road. Some of them are in such a rush that they even pass at the double yellow line sections! What really amazes me though is how little time they save by doing so. Whey they pass me just outside of Monroe, I often catch up to them in Duvall. And my heart is not racing with my engine as I am sure theirs are. Seeing that time savings of essentially nothing has helped me to realize that my need for speed is truly diminished if not almost completely gone.

I am glad that my days of needing to drive at breakneck speeds are over. I am glad that I realized my time savings are not worth the risks of my kids not having their father or somebody else not having theirs. Somedays, I am happy just to make somebody behind me miserable because I am going the speed limit. I still hope that I can drive at high speeds on the Autobahn someday but I will do it just for fun, without a real need for speed.

© 2007 Michael T. Miyoshi

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