I always buckle up and observe speed limits and school crossings. I’ve never passed a school bus and have great respect for orange cones wherever I see them. I pull over out of respect for a funeral procession and emergency vehicles.
I live near Hwy. 193 and travel this road frequently. You would think with all my adherence to the rule of law and politeness makes me all warm and fuzzy. To tell the truth, I am causing a hostile driving environment on Hwy. 193.
It seems no one obeys the speed limits on that road. I have them memorized and now stamped upon the forehead of my grandson. At the junction of Hwy. 136 as you turn onto 193, the speed limit is 50 mph for a short distance. The remaining limits vary from 45-35 back and forth all the way to the valley.
Many angry and disgruntled people have changed their time to leave for work because of me. That’s because they either want to get ahead of me or be far enough behind to lessen any homicidal notions. If I’m driving to work early in the morning, the cars and trucks begin to bottleneck up behind me.
I just know there’s a bounty on my head.
One morning a lady was so desperate to pass me, she swung around me on a double yellow and almost struck a sanitary worker. She took part of his trash and possibly a body part as a hood ornament. I can’t hear what they’re saying, but the rage can be detected through my side mirror as they tailgate and put their lights on bright.
If objects in the mirror really are closer than they appear, then some of them are in my back seat. I know because with all that heavy breathing my windows fog up.
Oh, I know what they are thinking: “Oh no! It’s that blue-hair in her precious Mercury Marquis!”
All the while, I continue to creep, and the anger builds to such a degree that it’s probably the fog you see in High Point. It’s all that hot air mixing with the cool morning air, therefore a mist lingers in that area much of the time. I also get nervous if a policeman gets behind me, even my own son. One Sunday morning a fellow church member who is a policeman pulled out of his driveway right behind me. Knowing I couldn’t shake him since we were going to the same place, I just slowed down and made both of us late for church.
If I ask family members how to get somewhere, they always answer, “It depends on who’s driving: for a normal person, 30 minutes, for maw maw Kaye, one hour.”
Not long ago, my sister and I attended a workshop at Chattanooga State. I of course allowed myself plenty of time to get there, and we arrived 30 minutes early. While we drove through town, I really slowed down because of the hidden cameras. Their sole job is to nab some unsuspecting person going too fast. It’s kind of sneaky if you ask me. You don’t even know until a month later, and instead of a Christmas card you get a letter with a citation and a close-up of your license plate. Included is a fat little fee of $50.
Knowing all this I naturally slowed down, all the while watching for the cameras with all four eyes.
My sister asked, “What are you doing?”
When I told her of my fears, she cackled out loud.
“You?! Worried about going too fast? I could have rode a tricicle and got here quicker!”
Kaye Steadman lives in Chickamauga. She is a storyteller, published writer and author of the book “My Name's Not Verly.” She can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Facebook.