The Slow Lane

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That we are all overscheduled is never more apparent than out on the freeways where we battle it out to get from one place to another.  Here, the mantra is, "Excuse me, I'm running late, in a hurry, tons to do, so please get out of my way." Of course this urge to speed things up creates all kinds of stress and anxiety, to say nothing of accidents.

So what is one to do? Well, I'm here to tell you I have found a new sense of peace and balance behind the wheel of my car and I didn't have to join a meditation group or yoga class to achieve it. I simply changed lanes.

First, observe the fast lane. No matter how speedy you think you are, there is always someone behind who thinks you're hopelessly slow. The other lanes are a mishmash of people struggling to get that one car length ahead certain they could get there faster if only they could get ahead of you. It seems they have yet to discover trying to get anyplace quickly in the Bay Area by going faster is surely a fool's errand. How many times have I watched some speedster zigzagging ahead of me on the Bay Bridge only to find that same driver next to me at the first red light in the city?

Therefore, if you desire a more joyous way of driving, please join me in the place where I have found calm and composure - the far right lane. That's right, the slow one. By slowing down I still get where I want to go, just a few minutes behind the rest of you. Now, it takes some training as any rewarding challenge does. Cruising along at 55 mph in the slow lane while everyone seems to zip past can make you want to give in and join the fray. Resist the temptation. Breathe deeply. Put on some relaxing music. Look around. Behold, you catch glimpses of sky, hills and water now that you're no longer so focused on the car ahead.

Tom Magliozzi, half of the beloved Car Talk team, passed away last year. He famously advocated making the national speed limit 35 miles per hour. Who would know better? So go ahead, take the challenge and move to the right. Watch as the fast lane drivers rush onward like lemmings as you smile calmly, knowing that slow and steady always wins the race.
With a Perspective, I'm Terence Krista.


Terence Krista is a teacher and librarian for the San Francisco Unified School District. He lives in Richmond.