A little before seven in the morning I’m going to work. State Route 76 winds its way through a lot of farmland because there isn’t anything else out there. Heading north out of Quitman, I go over the tracks, and past Troupville Road, and there’s a car behind a truck, and that’s where I am.
It’s dark, just enough fog to say there’s fog, so I drop back. I’m running early, I have coffee and good music. Fifty miles an hour is not a death sentence, believe it or not. Three buses run on 76 this time of the morning. One is heading south and we’ll get stopped by it. One is running north, and because we’re traveling slow, this one will have time to pull out and get in front of us. Then there’s that one that pops out of a side road, picks one kid up, turns around in the driveway, and goes back down the same side road.
I miss lockdown. There were no school buses.
The first leech appears nearly instantly. This is the guy who attaches himself to my back bumper. But I have cruise control. I’m not getting pushed and there is nowhere for me to go anyway. Fifty becomes, forty-nine, and then forty-eight, as I click the cruise button and drop one mile an hour per click. At forty-five, Leech passes me and is stuck behind the car stuck behind the truck. I stay far enough behind Leech to avoid any of the drama he’s creating.
Another set of headlights appear behind me, and almost instantly, someone passes this car, nearly sideswipes me, and is now firmly stuck behind Leech. I drop back, again, and I wonder if I will wind up in Miami if I keep this up. The car behind me drops back as well. Neither of us is going to play leapfrog.
The guy behind the slow-moving truck isn’t trying to pass, so Leech decides to pop out of the lane to take a look. He’s too close to do this safely and is almost hit. I back off a little more, and the guy behind me does, too.
We arrive at the thriving metropolis of Morven Georgia, and everyone slows down. Leech takes a right, the guy in front of him goes left, and now I’m behind the truck. It’s carrying two refrigerators and there’s a young man holding onto the straps on one side, in the back of the pick-up. We cross SR133 and head north on 76. Before we’re out of town good, maybe one hundred yards, a car passes me, tries to pass the truck, but has to duck back in. He’s right on the bumper of the truck. He has to see the person in the back of the truck, but he doesn’t care. He’s late, he’s in a hurry, he’s trying to get somewhere right now, and this person is in the way. (View from SR76 below)
SR122, in the thriving metropolis of Barney Georgia, ends it as the truck with the guy in back turns, and I’m left alone now as one car passes me and the road is empty. The sun is coming up, the sky is brighter, and visibility is getting better. All in all, that truck slowed me down maybe three or four minutes, hell, maybe five! But that young man gets to go home alive, as do I.
Leech is still out there, still agitated likely, and maybe writing about some jerk going slow and ruining his day.
Slow down. You’ll live.