I live on a peninsula cushioned geographically by water. The further into the region you drive, the further you can time travel. To places where the accent is thick and old spinster ladies still do without running water or electricity. Much like in Ireland, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the residents here are used to the slower pace.
There’s an understanding in both places that you are not allowed the audacity of hurrying. You never know when you will run into a hillside filled with sheep there or large strange farm equipment here. You must chill your obnoxious driving self while those sheep do whatever they were doing before your speedy butt got there.
Farming equipment, our sheep substitute, causes even slower paced parades. When you travel the one road southward to the next town fifteen miles away, you are part of a parade the name of which is whatever miles per hour you are traveling. I’ve spent many an afternoon in a 48 mile an hour parade. The further back you are, the slower you go.
Add the rebuilding of a bridge and you’ve got a shore complaint. Many rivers and tributaries to the Bay mean many bridges to cross. Repairs and replacements are a natural part of the economy. And part of your delayed driving day.
I was forcibly reminded recently that I really needed to check myself. I rush off to do everything like I’m in some great big hurry before the world ends. Or the bus returns my kid to our home. When there’s an officer writing you a ticket, the universe is trying to tell you to make a better choice. And reset your clock and expectations. And slow down because the accomplishing and the erranding are illusions.
I am a city girl at heart. But my drive to the city yesterday, during which I was trapped on the beltway with a full bladder, reminded me of why I don’t want to still live in the city. I want to practice conscious locomotion. Maybe I’ll tape the words “ticket” and “beltway” to my dashboard to remind myself to keep cool and get there when I get there. Because there isn’t going anywhere no matter what time it is.