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Questions I can't answer

Published March 10. 2012 09:01AM

The other day I was driving the Interstate, sticking to the 70 mile per hour speed limit.

Cars and trucks were whizzing past me as if I were an ant inching along.

I know. People hate drivers like me who "only" do the speed limit. They call us "Granny drivers."

Actually, the only reason I was going the posted speed limit of 70 is because I annoy others when I drive slower. I liked speed when I was young but I now want to hang out in the slow lane.

To feel more comfortable on the Interstate, I moved over to the so-called slow lane and set my cruise control at 65 to keep my speed steady.

I glanced at the woman who pulled out from behind me and was startled by what I saw. She was holding her cell phone in her left hand and eating something in her right hand. Holy cow! What hand was left to drive?

Why do people insist on doing so many things other than driving when they are behind the wheel?

Don't they know that every time they are in the driver's seat they are in control of a dangerous missile?

In this fast paced world, we get easily distracted and some can't keep their focus on one thing for very long. That's especially true for kids and the younger generation. But it seems to me that the Distraction Syndrome is spreading faster than a virus in winter.

Then there's the other road menace - drivers who are in a hurry and put others at risk by their careless driving.

I watched as one car competing for Superman's title faster than a speeding bullet. The little black roadster passed me, then went back in my lane because the cars in the passing lane were going too slowly for him. I watched him weave in and out, constantly changing lanes in the heavy traffic and having some close calls as he did so. I was worried about a multiple-car pile up if he crashed.

Why, I wonder, do people do that to save a few seconds? What will they do with the seconds they save? One thing is certain: They will be going too fast in life to savor those seconds.

A few miles up the road we came to road construction and had to stop. I smirked to myself as I saw the black roadster not too far ahead of me. All that rushing got him no where.

I often wonder why people are in such a hurry throughout life. The other day, as I waited at the deli counter, I struck up a conversation with a visitor from Germany. In talking about his views on America, he noted that it seems to him Americans are always in a hurry. Life, he said, is slower paced in Germany.

I normally walk fast and have a take-no-prisoners approach when I'm out walking. But I've been making a conscious effort to try to slow down my life to see more, hear more.

When I think about it, I know I rushed through life far too much. I was always moving, always doing several things at once, always in a hurry.

I told myself I had to hurry because there was far too much to do and far too little time to do it. All that was true. But it's not like I could take the few seconds I saved here and there and put that time in a bank account, drawing it out at will.

It took me far too long to realize rushing through life accomplishes little. Why do we have to be old before we literally and figuratively slow down and smell the roses?

It's one of the many questions in life I can't answer.

Another question: Why do so many people treat our streets and pavements as their own personal trash can? Why do they toss whatever they have in hand, expecting someone else to pick it up?

My friends and I are environmentally conscious. When we walk anywhere or when we kayak a waterway, we stop to pick up trash.

I think it's important for each of us to do what we can for the environment.

But why do others throw the trash there in the first place?

In my friendly little neighborhood, everyone is especially nice, adding to my joy of living here. But we're having a big debate about manners.

The problem is one guy retired on early disability who walks his dog all day, smoking one cigarette after the other. He throws his old cigarettes on our lawns as he walks. You can't believe how those butts add up on our lawns until we go out and collect them.

"I think I'm going to take all these cigarettes and dump them back on his lawn," said one neighbor who has had it with the KP duty she has to do every week.

I suggested we just talk to the guy. Perhaps he doesn't know how much he's irritating the neighborhood.

But another dear friend on the block begged us not to do it. "He's such a nice man," she said. "He'll feel awful if you say something."

So far, we're at a stalemate. We continue to pick up butts, muttering to ourselves but saying nothing.

For me, the question remains: Why would anyone treat a street as their own personal ashtray?

Some questions seem to have no answers.

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