Life in the fast lane (not a metaphor)  JUN 24 2002

Motoring along the freeway, you observe several types of drivers. There's the guy who can't maintain a constant speed and you end up passing each other about fourteen times over the course of 45 minutes, developing in the process some sort of passing rivalry that becomes really important about the fourth or fifth pass to the point of wanting to kill each other.

There's the guy that won't get out of the fast lane when there's a faster car on his tail. You find lots of these in California, but not so many in Minnesota which makes it all the more annoying when you do observe one gumming up the well-oiled freeway machine.

There's the guy that passes you, pulls back into the slow lane in front of you, and slows down to a speed one or two mph lower than what you have your cruise control set at, forcing you to pass him. In some cases, this is the opening volley in the passing wars mentioned above.

And then there's the lucky bastards. A bunch of us were flying along in the fast lane last night, exceeding the suggested speed limit by a significant margin. The guy in front got clipped by a state trooper, missing me by three cars and four seconds. Good thing I wasted about that much time at the gas station getting out to check that I had secured the gas cap (which I hadn't).

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