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On Driving

by Tyler

After more than a year spent living out of a bicycle (and writing about the experience nearly every day) many aspects of my worldview have changed so dramatically that I often find it difficult to relate to the motives of my younger self. The most profound evolution of all: my now erstwhile sense that everyone and everything is going too slowly.

Though I've written and thought about this on several occasions, the depth of it's impact in my life continues to show itself in new ways as we travel. The most recent being the discovery that I am a completely different driver than the one who left the USA little more than a year ago.

I now find myself spending an inordinate amount of time being outraged by what I perceive as lunacy on the road. While cars overtake us at twice the speed limit, stupidly jockeying for position on single lane highways, I can't help wonder where on earth it is so important they must be. Or, if it was so important, why they didn't leave earlier.

What possible engagements could require so many different people to spend so much of their drive narrowly missing head on collision after head on collision? Do they realize they are saving themselves mere minutes, at best? While these thoughts run through my mind, there is an ever present and incredulous one idling quietly in the background: I used to do this!

Thankfully, there are other, more pleasing changes as well. For example, I no longer feel a need to keep a vigilant watch for police! This relaxing reality is brought about by the fact that I am no longer constantly speeding.

Another problem which has vanished: absentmindedly discovering I am on the wrong side of the speed limit even when I'm trying to obey it. In fact, this one has gone so far in the other direction that it requires a conscious effort to keep the needle somewhere near the posted limit. My natural inclination is now something like 40kph (25mph).

It would seem I have become a "Sunday Driver" about fifty years too soon.

This morning, in a mostly failed attempt to avoid idiots in traffic (and see the countryside in the process), we spent two hours on winding back roads getting nowhere. Our first stop was the Baltic Sea.

Tara took up residence on the beach, watching the waves:

Tara @ the Baltic Sea Bee in Rose Baltic Sea

…while I captured some nearby wildlife:

Purple Flower Grumpy Toad Toad Eye

Back in the car, we tried to continue on our minor-roads-only-route, but ultimately gave up when we realized we'd covered less than 30km in an hour. Much as we'd love to take things at a bicycle's pace, we need to continue east with some speed. So, after snapping a picture of this field:

Polish Field

…and this Polish McMansionville (in the middle of nowhere):

Polish McMansions

…we hit the highway, joining the normal flow of traffic, if only for a few hours.

Polish Road Marker