I roll the windows all the way down so my hair whips my cheeks and the Starbucks receipt flies off the dashboard. Patsy Cline croons as the mini-van soars over empty roads. I'm headed to Norfolk for an evening work event, two and half hours up to Northeast Nebraska, two and half hours back.
You know, you can cross the entire state of Massachusetts in two and half hours. In Nebraska you barely make a dent in that time. That used to bug me – that I couldn’t get anywhere fast in Nebraska. Sometimes it still does. But now mostly I’m just glad.
It’s not entirely a stereotype, that life moves more slowly in the Midwest. When I visit my family in Massachusetts I notice it right away as we cruise up I-91 from the airport to my parents’ house. The pace is nothing short of frenetic. Traffic snarls the roads. Drivers weave in and out of lanes, tailgating, swearing, leaning on the horn. Even my mother tailgates for crying out loud. “Jeez, Mom, you’re right on her bumper!” I gasp as we follow my best friend out of the neighborhood. When did we start tailgating even people we know, I wonder.
I didn’t always appreciate slowness, on the road or otherwise. When I first moved to Nebraska I earned a cache of speeding tickets. In fact, I once got pulled over for speeding twice in two weeks. By the same cop. [try explaining that one to your husband...or to the cop -- thankfully he didn't recognize me!]
But more recently, the sweetness of slow has grown on me. I don’t rush like I used to. I don’t pack my day with a half dozen activities. I don’t try to squeeze in just one more errand. If I arrive at my destination early, I turn off the car and sit. If the weather is warm I sit with the windows open and listen to the breeze stirring golden leaves. I close my eyes and breathe in the earthy scent of autumn, oak leaves disintegrating into dust by the curb.
What about you? What's one small way you work a little bit of slow into your hectic life?