Some of my regular readers (yes, I know I flatter myself here) may recall the solemn vow I made less than a month ago not to drive between Los Angeles and San Diego. The longer I remained in Topanga Canyon, however, the more confidence I lost in my ability to handle the RV. Plunging off a cliff and hitting a tree has that effect. I concluded one way to restore my self-assurance was to repeat the dreaded I-5 drive because I knew I could do it. After all, I had already done it.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan like me, my reasoning parallels that of Harry in The Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry knew he could conjure a Patronus to protect himself and Sirius Black from the Dementors when he and Hermione Granger traveled back in time using the Time Turner. He knew this because he had seen himself do it, although the first time he thought his father was responsible for the rescue. Anyway, the point is, I knew I could do it, even without a Patronus.
On the return trip, which was made in part to see my Dad for his 89th birthday, I realized it was actually safer and more courteous to travel in the slow/merging lane at a steady speed rather than slow down to let cars in. By keeping my speed at a consistent 53 mph, drivers could more easily gauge for themselves whether to speed up to get in front of me or slow down and merge behind me. I provided them with a constant speed against which they could make their own decision.
For the most part this approach worked well. The sole exception was when a U-Haul truck merged in front of me and a car I now speculate was the U-Haul driver’s wife also tried to get in front of me when she really shouldn’t have made the attempt. She was fearless because, I figured, her husband told her to stay behind him at all times. After all, it’s so very difficult to spot a bright red/orange U-Haul truck on the freeway were she to be a car or two behind him. So follow him she did. I yielded, although I did allow myself to honk my horn and yell, “What are you DOING, honey?”
Not only was my driving greatly improved, but please notice the PG improvement in my language, too.