Home / I’ll Catch You at the Light

I’ll Catch You at the Light

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

On the way to work one morning last week, I was accelerating up to the 50 mph limit when a car closed fast behind me and passed in a stretch of road where the double yellow line was absent for just a few hundred feet. It would have been a close call had another car been approaching from ahead. The passer who was in such a hurry zoomed over the hill, around a curve and out of sight. Just a minute or two later, I pulled up right beside him at a red light. The temptation to wave at him was almost irresistible! In the end, I just focused on the light and to my surprise, accelerated away from the light ahead of him. Maybe I beat him off the line because he wasn’t paying attention, but of course, he passed me again before we got to the school zone.

My commute to work is 27 miles and depending on weather and traffic usually takes 40 minutes. About ten years ago I decided that the pace of my life could slow down a bit and not much would change. It was easy to rely on my car’s cruise control. Setting this handy device at about five mph over the limit tends to keep me going at a speed the state troopers don’t seem to mind. Other drivers do. Most just fly by like I’m standing still and ignore me. Some are annoyed. It has always struck me that tailgating at 60 mph is dangerous so when another driver passes me and cuts right in front of me I change lanes. Remember the old rule about keeping one car length per ten mph behind the vehicle in front? The last fifteen miles to my job is all four-lane divided highway and ends at a very long light — it must be three or four minutes if it catches you, and backs cars up 30 or more deep. For four years now, I’ve taken the same route to work so it has been easy to learn which lane moves the fastest and at which times of the day. So it seems not a day goes by that I don’t find myself at the “long light” next to someone who passed me earlier on the journey.

Fortunately, road rage is a thing of my past, and personal victories in morning traffic are no longer important. It does feel good, though, to be able to leave the vehicle and walk in to work with a spring in my step and a smile in my heart from a fresh reminder that I am indeed a persistent tortoise.

Powered by

About FCEtier

  • I can relate to exactly what you are saying and must say that I really loved the ‘persistent tortoise’ description. It fits so perfectly and is so very true. I can just picture the scene exactly and it put a smile on my face.

  • I, too, am a persistent tortoise in many areas of life. The road rage thing has never made a bit of sense to me. I will admit that in certain moments, I can have a heavy foot on the gas pedal, for me that translates to maybe 5-8 over the speed limit. It doesn’t put me into the category of a low flying jet, as I constantly witness zipping past me. Persistent tortoise, I am, and glad to be one of the herd! 😉

    ~ Dawn

  • cannonshop

    I’m of a mind that ‘Haste is not Speed’, so I guess I’m also a ‘Persistent Tortois’.

  • I must admit that I am not yet a persistent tortoise but I wish I will be one soon. Not only on road, but everywhere – at home, at work and so on. I assume it will be good that way but trust me, living life in such pace is a big challenge in Malaysia.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    My only obstacle to getting over road rage is when someone almost kills you with their stupidity. Especially, these idiots in their gigantic POS SUVs. I think there should be a mandatory road test when you go to get your license renewed and that should qualify you for what you’re allowed to drive.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    The stupidity being:

    Cellphones & Texting
    Lack of Indication / changing lanes like Mario Andretti
    Not speeding up quickly for highway merging / driving in the slow lane while people are trying to merge.
    Tailgating on the highway / Tailgating in general.
    Not clearing all the snow off your vehicle before you drive like a f*cking madman.

  • thank you thank you thank you!!! I’m so glad someone else remembers the rule of maintaining the car distance. I thought I was just old as dirt and dreamed this one up. As one constantly passed I’m learning to control the rage by first listening to my breath and then to offer them a blessing of stillness and a prayer that they will harm no one on their journey. Great post, I shall remember this tomorrow at a particularly troublesome stop sign that no on else seems to notice!

  • Arch Conservative

    Unfortunately there’s no “asshole” test to determine who we must share the roads with.

  • I am amazed at how much of a hurry people seem to be in today. Don’t get me wrong I probably drive a little faster then most but I pretty much do what you do 5mph over the speed limit & if I get behind someone at least going the speed limit I never worry…I just enjoy the journey.

    Thanks for sharing,



  • Ruvy

    I learned to drive in New York, and until I met my wife 23 years ago, I drove like a typical New Yorker – aggressive and always in a hurry. I damn near got killed a couple of times because of it. But my fiancée has asthma and got an asthma attack because of my driving. I had to change my driving habits because of her. So, I did. That was 23 years ago.

    I gave up driving when we moved to Israel 8½ years ago – Israelis drive like New Yorkers and I had the persistent feeling that if I got a license to drive here, the day would come when I would be road-kill. Road accidents are the prime cause of death in Israel in spite of being in what amounts to a war zone. So I ride the bus and hitch rides and my blood pressure does not go up because Israelis drive cars worse than they ride camels….