People on the Highway

Today’s tale is called: Slow Lane

The roads this morning are odd.  There are no obstructions, no accidents, no inclement weather or even the aftermath of bad weather; yet speeds are topping out at 40 miles per hour.  The relaxed nature of the drive seems to suit the driver in front of me quite well.

A red Toyota truck rumbles down the road.  It is red and rust, with a beat up jet black cover over the bed.  It looks like one of those trucks that is always on CNN with a rocket launcher strapped to it in the back.  I do not think this guy is going to help liberate Libya anytime soon, but the truck has a career ahead of it.

The driver is older.  Hair is a distant memory and his glasses get a bit thicker every year.  He watches John Wayne movies on weeknights and on weekends he takes his beloved truck to a lake in Loveland, a half hour drive from here.  At the lake he sits at the shore with his buddies, all retired truckers, and two fishing poles per person.  The group of six guys, seven if Marty can get away, sit in silence waiting for something to bite.

Years ago an odd thing started to happen.  The white haired old men and their case of Coors Light began attracting a crowd.  Young men and women, children even would approach the group and ask questions.  At first the group had no idea of how to react, but they were polite enough.  Questions about life, history, relationships, careers, fish, and one time even a question about parts of the Moon that went unanswered.

They became known as the Sages of Lake Loveland.  The driver had a thick salt-and-pepper mustache when the questions began.  It has gone away over time, but he is still called “Stache” by regulars.  Always in his mouth, even now as he drives down Highway 34, is a toothpick.  I trust it is a different toothpick every day, but it is always there.  It dances over his teeth as he figures out proper wording of a response.  He is never quick to respond to a question no matter how insignificant.  Every word matters and he delivers answers at the speed of an Ent.

He is not one to rush.  Fishing is a test of patience and proof that good comes to those who wait.  The truck needs some time to get up to 65, but to him it takes as long as it takes.  Gone are the days of speeding through the week.  For him life is about the path, not the result.  Ironically, he stresses the importance of not stressing the daily rush in his chats with folks at the lake.  He wants every one to slow down.  In taking your time, he says, you do thing right.

I have to turn off the highway finally.  We never did hit the speed limit, but I am not exactly bothered by that.  Don’t get me wrong, forty down the highway is just….argh….but I will think on the Sage of the Lake’s advice and one day will be ok going two thirds the speed limit during rush hour with no obvious road problems.  Really, really, I’m fine with the slow lane.



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