Monday, December 10, 2012

Those annoying little bumps in the road

When I’m in the yard and a car slows down in front of my house, I look up to see who it is, assuming that they must be stopping to greet me. Since I moved to my new home on Arnold Drive, this happens all the time. In fact, every single car that goes by slows down in front of my house. And I always look up, wondering who it is. Even if it’s not a familiar face I see in the car, I wave. Usually, they wave back. Are people in my new neighborhood that much friendlier than they have been any other place I’ve lived? No. But this is the first place I’ve lived where there is a speed bump in the street directly in front of my house.

Speed bumps. Don’t you just love ‘em? All you want to do is get from point A to point B, and they throw these little obstacles in your path for no other reason than to slow you down. They’re so damn annoying. But, of course, there is a reason for them, because there is a reason why you need to slow down. This is a place where people are walking, and running, and playing. And for the safety of the people (and animals) on the street, those who are driving their cars need to be inconvenienced. Really, it’s a small price to pay when you look at it that way.

The street I live on, Arnold Drive, could easily become a cut-through street. You enter it on the south from Central Avenue, which is one of the main arteries in Charlotte, and the entrance to the east is from another busy street, Eastway Drive. But Arnold is not an easy way to cut through, by design. The road snakes around more than any street I’ve seen outside the mountains. And it is filled with speed bumps. 

It really is a lovely little road, and I enjoy the drive -- when I’m not in a hurry. But when I just want to get from one place to another as quickly as possible, I avoid it. I have several short cuts I can take to get home, where I miss the curves and most of the speed bumps, and I'm in my driveway before I know it, with no recollection of how I got there. Yet I have to admit that when I travel the long way down the street, and slow down for the countless speed bumps, making my way to the place where I live, I always remember my journey.

Maybe there is something to be said for the value of speed bumps to those of us who always seem to be in a hurry. Maybe those little annoyances in our path are there to remind us to ease up and pay attention to what’s happening around us.

Yeah, and maybe those speed bumps are a metaphor for other annoyances as well. 

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