Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Driving Lesson

The following article was in the Knoxville News-Sentinel last week. Read it for a good lesson on driving. It’s a little long, but I think it’s worth your time.

CITIZEN’S VOICE
A driving lesson that will last
DR. ROBERT GIBSON

   The gold Camry sat in my blind spot, and its driver refused to slow down or speed up. I was traveling in the right lane on the Pellissippi Parkway between Knoxville and Oak Ridge near the Hardin Valley exit, and I was in a hurry to get to work.
Cars     But gold Camry had me boxed in behind an 18-wheeler going 40 miles per hour. I was going nowhere, with gold Camry on my left rear bumper, blind to my growing frustration. Why won’t this guy pass and let me move over?
    I mashed the accelerator, planning to bolt ahead of the gold Camry and then make a quick move to the left. It didn’t work. Gold Camry accelerated, too, making my aggressive move too risky. I was pinned behind the 18-wheeler.
     My frustration boiled over to anger. As the Camry’s front bumper drew parallel to my driver’s side window, I debated how I might transmit my anger. Shake my fist? Mouth some nasty words as he crept by? Maybe ride his back bumper all the way to Oak Ridge?
    Gold Camry was interfering with progress, and I wanted him know it.
    His front door drew even with mine, and I glanced over with a scowl. I saw a middle-aged man lost in thought. He gripped the wheel in 10-2 position, just like I had learned in driver’s education class.
    I was certain that he would return my glance with an air of superiority. Instead, he kept his eyes on the road, straight ahead, as if I wasn’t even there.
Car    The 18-wheeler was less than 10 yards ahead; I strained to anticipate the exact moment that the Camry’s back bumper would clear my front bumper. At that instant, I would whip into the left lane, using the maneuver as an obvious message to Gold Camry: Get out of my way, jerk!
    Then, as the gold Camry crept past me, I read its license plate: “SON KIA.”
    Killed in action. Shame crept over me as I comprehended what I had already begun to suspect: Gold Camry wasn’t boxing me in intentionally. And even if he were, what was the value of my few minutes of lost time in comparison to what he had lost?
    I slowed down, letting the gold Camry fade into the distance. Work seemed less important now.
    Since that day, I have often wondered why the driver of the gold Camry chose to put those letters on his license plate. Maybe they reminded him of something he didn’t want to forget, no matter how painful the memory.
    Maybe he wanted other drivers to acknowledge what he and his son had sacrificed for their country. Or maybe he wanted everyone to remember the gravity of war which, as American writer Paul Fussell reminds us, “acts in ways that ask to be imagined before they are condemned.”
    Whatever his intent, the words that I wished to say so emphatically to the driver of the gold Camry changed in an instant.
    I hope the man driving the gold Camry reads this. I want him to know that we met one day on the Pellissippi Parkway, and I was made better by that meeting. I’m sorry, sir. Thank you for your son.

 
~~~
Tennessee Granddaddy Says:
Don't let what you can't do
interfere with what you can do.

~~~
Quote of the Day
It might be more worthwhile if we stopped wringing our hands and started ringing our congressmen.
~Author Unknown

~~~
Joke of the Day

Two country truck drivers are barreling along when they come up to a low bridge.

A sign says, "Clearance: 11"2'." So they get out, measure their truck, and realize that it's 11"6'.

So the first GUY looks at the second GUY and says, "I don't see any cops around....let's go for it!"

(Dumber than dumb… Perhaps in earlier days, these two guys played football at the University of Tennessee before being kicked off the team some stupid crime.)



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2 comments:

Mandy said...

Great story, Granddaddy! People get too wrapped up in their own agendas to even consider what another person may be going through.

Sayit-baldys said...

GRANDDADDY, IHE 'LOW BRIDGE' SIGN BROUGHT BACK MEMORY OF QUITE A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN BEGAN DRIVING BUSES FOR GREYHOUND.
THERE WAS THE 'AEROCOACH', A WARTIME BUS, LIGHTLY BUILT, STILL USING LEAF SPRINGS.
'FOOTBALL DAY' AND WE EXTRA DRIVERS WERE ASSIGNED OUR CHARTER WORK TO TAKE BUSLOADS OF PLAYERS FROM DALLAS TO ARLINGTON.
ALL EXCEPT ONE OF WE DRIVERS FOLLOWED THE ROUTE ON THE CHARTER ORDER. THE 'SMART' ONE TOOK A SHORTCUT HE KNEW OF. THE SHORTCUT HAD AN UNDERPASS SAYING 11 FOOT CLEARANCE.
WITH ALL THOSE BIG FOOTBALL PLAYERS AND EQUIPMENT THE BUS WENT RIGHT THRU THE UNDERPASS, NO PROBLEM.
HOWEVER, FOR SOME REASON THAT DRIVER DECIDED TO GO BACK AND GET SOMETHING FORGOTTEN, AND ONLY A FEW MILES AND WOULD BE BACK PARKED WITH THE REST OF US THAT FOLLOWED THE LONGER SPECIFIED ROUTE.
MORAL HERE, OBEY THE BOSS.
WITHOUT THE LOAD ON THOSE LEAF SPRINGS, ENTERING THAT 11 FOOT UNDERPASS AT 30 MILES AN HOUR, SPLIT THE TOP OF THAT BUS OPEN LIKE A CAN OF SARDINES.
OH MY. NEXT DAY LOOKING FOR ANOTHER JOB. sam