Little Old Lady (Not) From Pasadena

If it happens once, it’s an anomaly.

Twice, it’s a curiosity.

Three times, and it earns a blog post.

— Karen’s philosophy on blogging.

The first time it happened, it was a lazy Saturday morning and I was on the highway named 280 traveling in a southward direction. The Good Man and I had just destroyed a stack of pancakes up at a restaurant in Millbrae, and were headed home.

I was behind the wheel, which is rare. The Good Man usually takes the wheel and I navigate (poorly).

We whistled along and were cussing and discussing something when I rounded a curve and lo and behold, there waited a member of that exclusive club, the CHP.

Instinctively, I touched the brake pedal to slow my roll, and as I did, I looked at my speedometer to see just how bad the ticket was going to be.

Turns out, I was going the speed limit. And my touching the brakes only slowed me to under the limit.

Oh. Well. That’s curious.

The second time I was driving across the great state of Georgia and I was singing along with the 80’s on 8 station on Sirius. The rental car was a Jeep and since I drive a Jeep back home, I felt pretty damn comfy in the car. The straight six has power and the Georgia highway was open and easy, begging me to test the bounds.

As I whipped past a slower car in the right lane, just as my wheels tap-tapped over the state line into Alabama, I saw the white cruiser in the median. One of Alabama’s finest was waiting there to nab speeders as they crossed over the border.

Again, I touched my brakes. Again, I looked at the speedometer to realize I had been going three over the speed limit of 70. Hardly enough for the Alabama man to get excited enough to leave the median.

Finally, the third event was just this weekend. Again on 280, this time headed to San Jose. Again a cruiser parked by the side of the road with a LIDAR gun aimed out the window. Again the brake pedal. Again, I was already in the legal zone.

What, exactly, has happened to me?

Once upon a time, I was quite a speed demon.

I was the girl who used to test what going 100mph felt like on the roads between El Paso and Carlsbad. (sssh, don’t tell my Mom)

I am the girl who used to get in trouble with her folks every time I came home from college because they would time me and I always arrived too early. (You’d think I would have figured it out and taken a lunch break somewhere to eat up some time)

This is the same chick that likes to race Mercedes up a hill. (My Jeep has pulling power, donchaknow).

And now I’m little Miss Goes The Speed Limit? Miss Little Old Lady Who Only Drives The Car To Church On Sunday? Little Miss Law Abider?

Evidently so.

Except for one red light infraction two years ago on a no good, very bad day.

Suddenly going the speed limit seems, mostly, like the right pace for me.

This depresses me a little bit. But just a little.

Soon I’ll invest in an elongated sedan and I’ll use the cruise control and I’ll huff and puff about all those damn kids driving too fast.


Image from the Gilroy Dispatch

About Author


  • Frank Conway

    No comments? You may have engendered some contemplation. Mortality. The loss of youth. What is youth, anyway? Can I think young and not stupid? Do I have time to go home and change into someone else?

    Most of us probably don’t notice the subtle shifts in attitude. I drive slower because I never have a new car. I always have old cars or pickups and I want them to hold together and keep moving until I get there. But it requires less attention (including to the possibility of cops), just going a little slower. More capacity for other things. Maybe, on some level, you just have other things to think about.

    You have, with your education and experience and writing and particular psychic makeup and so forth, developed a formidable analytical tool by now, that only exists to be made use of. It may have taken over(!)

    • Karen Fayeth

      Frank – No, you are one of my few regular commenters and I’m grateful to have you!

      Your bit about not driving too fast because you have old cars kind of hit home…my own hoopty is eleven years old. Though only 108k miles so she’s got some good years yet.

      But yeah…suddenly I got other things on my mind than getting there too fast.

      I did rather enjoy going 100mph in the no man’s lands of Texas on the way to Carlsbad, though. Such a boring drive, what better way to pass the time?

      • Frank Conway

        Damn girl. You drive a vehicle that’s 11 years old. This kind of thing seriously cuts into your Capitalist Bourgeois image. Then there’s all that Annie Oakley and dirty hands and wrestling large animals stuff, and camping. Camping?

        This isn’t even to mention your cartel activities. Well, on the other hand, that’s illegal, so it qualifies as Capitalist.

        But to drive something 11 years old and over 100,000 you almost have to be a mechanic. You have to be familiar with terms like preventive maintenance and fan belts, and know how to operate a dip stick. You have to know that if there’s no one there to say “Take care it it” to, you’ll have change the tire yourself.

        Still, there’s the golf. It’s pretty hard to play, watch, or even think about golf and not be bourgeois. If anyone in your bloodline is golf related, you’re probably bourgeois. There’s one thing you can do to be safe, however. If you haven’t already done so, bookmark this site:

      • Frank Conway

        Anyone who’s driven 100 mph is a friend of mine.

        The one time I did that in a car, it blew up. It threw a rod. I’ve never bought a new car. I stop people on the street and say “Guess what, I’ve never bought a new car.” But I never said I never bought a new motorcycle.

  • Lucky

    I have recently learned how to use cruise control (living in VA now, and it’s amazing how quickly you can rack up a reckless driving charge, especially still with out of state tags), and it’s a love/hate relationship.

    I have a newish car. It’s pretty sporty. I have a lead foot. So, I love that cruise control keeps me in check (until I get my VA plates, at least!), and I love that it really improves my gas milage. I can replace the smug feeling of passing people with the smug feeling of conserving gas.

    What I hate is that I really space out with it on. It’s kind of a problem. I totally forgot to pull into the left lane when I passed a cop the other day. Just spaced. It’s almost like I’ve abdicated some of my control and I feel like the car is almost driving itself. Which is probably not good.

    • Karen Fayeth

      Lucky – Yeah, I do that too. I turn on cruise and kind of tune out. Then I miss my exit and curse.

      Also, I get ticked when someone changes lanes and gets in front of me going slower than my cruise. Don’t make me hit my brakes, dang it!!

  • Anji

    I think that we’ve all slowed down so much in recent years that even slow feels fast.

Comments are closed.