Clearly Stated - My ‘Days of Thunder’ is a storm that’s passed

Alex Harrold
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I did something the other day that reminded me of my youth. It’s not really a good thing to be reminded of your youth very often unless you want to become overly depressed for no good reason. But this activity took me back to those carefree days when taking a risk contributed to that great feeling of being alive and enjoying a challenge you thought might be worth the risk. I didn’t know what I did the other day was a risk at the time, but it was one of the riskiest things I’ve done in probably 20 years.

Based on the number of people I encountered along the way that were not doing the same thing at the time, you may likely come to a different conclusion that what I was engaged in was risky behaviour. You may believe that my behaviour is better described as a hazard to others as opposed to a risk to myself. That would not be the first time that conclusion could be reached by others. Ask anyone who knew me.

The behaviour I engaged in took place in my automobile on the Trans Canada Highway between Westport and St. John’s. I got it in my head to set the cruise control on the car at 95 kilometres per hour for approximately 7 hours. Gasoline prices at $1.47 per litre can lead to such thoughts. What I found was, apparently, I was the only driver during that seven hour period who felt that the price of gas was high enough to justify engaging in such a risky endeavour. The scowling looks I got from everybody who passed me was small potatoes compared to the number of people attempting to save gas by hugging my rear bumper so close, they avoided any drag created by the air in front of them.

Who knew that attempting to drive 5 km under the posted speed limit falls in the same category as mountain climbing in sandals and spaghetti straps? I passed five vehicles between the Baie Verte junction and the turnoff to Conception Bay South. I was passed by everybody else, including several people who got off the ferry in Port Aux Basques about the same time I left Westport. I received quite a few glaring looks, but I also got the best gas mileage in a long time. Like the man said in a commercial some years back, “It’s like worth the trip dude.”

Those passing me didn’t feel the same way. I’ve scraped the paint off of my back bumper that some of you left there if you would like it back.

The experience had me questioning what the purpose is of having speed limit signs that indicate the maximum speed you can drive is 100 km/h if everybody is going to drive a minimum of 110 km/h and look at you as if you should be a grenade target. Five kilometers under the speed limit has to be more right than 15 or 20 km over the speed limit. Or, maybe I’m just getting cranky in my old age, especially when I learn that reducing my speed by about 10 km/hour saved $15 in gas costs going to Sin City. I know it’s not much. I know that 95 per cent of the people on the highway apparently don’t care or worry about saving $15 in gas over a seven hour drive. That’s fine. What kind of world would this be if everybody thought like I did? Actually, I could answer that, but that would just be another thing you probably wouldn’t agree with me about.

I will endeavour to strike a happy medium the next time I make that drive. I really think if those people who passed me and gave me those nasty looks would stop and get to know me better, they’d find that I’m a pretty reasonable guy. I already know however, that stopping would be out of the question, seeing as they showed no interest in slowing down even in a construction zone. I took down your licence plate number, by the way. It gave me something to do with the extra 30 minutes the trip took.

I’m being paid back for being Hell on Wheels between the ages of 17 and 40. There’s no doubt I’ve got it coming. But forgive me for wanting to slow down in my old age. The extra gas money I’ve saved is good. Not being mangled in a pile-up on the highway because I was speeding is even better. It’s a lesson I could of used at 17. But it’s working for me now. It might work for you, too.

aharrold@eastlink.ca

Organizations: Trans Canada Highway

Geographic location: Westport, Baie Verte, Port Aux Basques Sin

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