Friday Firesmith -Exiting Christmas: The Original Tortoise

My mom lives in a very, very, small town, one of those no sooner done than said towns and it’s rare to see anyone there who doesn’t have a reason to be there. I’m leaving. Christmas is over and I pull out of the side road away from mom’s house and there’s a car with its right blinker on at the next intersection, a tenth of a mile away, at most. Yeah, halfway across town. As I get closer the car still isn’t turning and I can see it has a Georgia tag, and the home county for my mom’s town. The car makes a left turn, which regrettably, is the direction I have to go. I have my left blinker on because I’m making a left turn, and the car across from me, which for some reason was waiting on the first car, waves me through. It’s a simple intersection, people, I have no idea how you get out of bed in the morning without calling 911. It occurs to me why no one ever leaves this town; they haven’t figured out how to drive yet.

The car makes a right. Dammit, I have to go right, too, Then the car turns on its right blinker and waits. There isn’t any traffic coming from either direction but I know better than to blow my horn. This is someone with issues. They are terribly old, terribly lost, terribly drunk, or, wow, maybe all three at the same time. Likely, they are armed. Very likely they are armed with more than one weapon. This is Christmas in Georgia and we don’t know who got a new twelve gauge under the tree. The road to the next town, and to the interstate is a busy little two lane thing with one passing lane on it. The car ahead of me oozes into a right turn, brakes then continues. I put on Pink Floyd’s “Echoes”. This is going to be a very long drive.

The speed limit here is 45 but no one does drives at this speed and the car ahead of me is no different. It’s doing thirty. There’s traffic incoming so I cannot pass and yes, indeed, we have a winner; a car gets behind me and tacks itself to my bumper. I’m more than a little willing to see how this plays out from a distance to I pull into the parking lot of a closed business and the circus goes on down the road.

I drop back far enough away so if this gets ugly I can keep from getting killed. I’m still guessing there will be gunfire before it’s over with and I won’t be surprised if there’s a shootout between the slower drivers, who will be using shotguns, and the faster drivers, armed with semiautomatic rifles. The car that was stuck on my butt is now slowly pushing the first car into picking up the speed, which is a detriment if you’re trying to pass it. By now there’s another pair of cars that have managed to pull out in front of me and get stuck in the freak show of someone driving insanely slow and someone following too close.

The bridge over Lake Blackshear is a couple of thousand feet of narrowness that no one would try to pass on, but our intrepid follower cannot help but try. This is why I’m a quarter of a mile behind this mess and not interested in getting any closer than the same time zone; this is stupid compounded by hurry. The guy makes it, barely, and I’m glad to see him gone. But there’s a brace of cars between me and the slower car. Pink Floyd and I are in no hurry. I’ve got “Wish You Were Here” loaded up next.

At the next intersection where there is a store, an RV pulling a trailer with some ATVs on it has pulled out in front of the guy that passed on the bridge. It’s going slower than our Original Tortoise. The OT is now tailgating the guy who has spent the last ten minutes stuck to his bumper. Behind me, there are a dozen cars now. I pull over to let them past.

We get to the passing lane but it’s a passing lane that’s for the other direction. That matters very little. Half a dozen of the RVs followers go for it. Then the right turn signal comes on and the RV swings wide to make the turn. Some stop, some pass, some pull over and commit ritual suicide by injecting a mixture of snail semen and air from a doctor’s waiting room. The OT is the leader of the pack, once again.

All in all, twenty minutes of my life have drifted by before the OT makes a left turn. I’m still seven cars deep behind and there’s another two or three behind me. I look back and OT is backing out into the road, heading back from whence he, or she, came.

Godspeed, Original Tortoise, Godspeed. And Merry Christmas.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

15 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith -Exiting Christmas: The Original Tortoise”

  1. Your mistake was Pink Floyd, if you had put on Golden Earring, you’d have left that lost soul behind. Bwahahaha!

    Every time somebody laments the lack of flying cars, I think of the idiots I see on the road. Imagining trying to avoid them in three dimensions makes me shudder.

    Happy New Year Mike, Jon, and all you B&P fans.

    • Bruce, people like that is why we can’t have nice things, really.

      Pink Floyd is the best music ever for driving distances. It has a flow to it that’s seamless and timeless.

  2. Whenever this has happened to me, I try to remind myself that just maybe God is keeping me from an accident, or something like that. It generally helps me to calm down and realize how blessed I am to even be driving in the first place. Sure beats walking! I too agree with the Pink Floyd selection. There is definitely something about most of their music (not too crazy about the pre-David Gilmour sound) that soothes the savage beast within. This experience of yours also reminded me of the old British show Mr. Bean, where he is trying to get down a flight of stairs, only to be confronted by a little old lady moving at a snail’s pace. He is then shown over the railing, hand over hand, to get ahead of her, only to then be confronted by a frail little old man moving at the same snail’s pace! Classic example of us needing to possibly slow down and smell the roses? Happy New Year Mike!

    • Dave,
      I have learned to consider the road ahead. Even had I got past him it’s still a two lane road with nowhere to pass. There isn’t a point in risking death to gain five or ten minutes of time. And Pink Floyd. They were a much better band with Gilmore, and the two of us may have to fend off the barbarians because I said that outloud.

      Happy New Year to you also!

  3. There’s a thing we do here in Texas, I’m told it’s not done anywhere else, if we are driving slower than everyone else we pull onto the shoulder and let the person behind us pass. That’s for smaller roads not highways mind you, and only where there’s a decent shoulder to pull onto. People I’ve talked to who see it for the first time don’t know what to make of it, but you get used to it, and yes, here it’s legal.It was put into the transportation code in Sept 1995.

  4. I’ve pulled over and let people go by, when I was looking for an address or street. I used to see motorhomes do it frequently but not any more, now they’re king of the road.

    I remember following an older Ford before they raised the height of the seatbacks. I could see a little white hair above the seat on both sides so I figured it was Grandpa and Grandma doing 15 mph down the street. Nothing I could do but be patient… until they pulled into a liquor store. ;o)

  5. I thought things were better where you are but that sounds like it is around here I dont even like getting on the roads anymore

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: