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.