Slow Down…Number One

People crack me up.  Every time the issue of photo radar comes up, these people go absolutely bonkers.  How dare they!  And the argument is always the same:  “It is not fair.  It’s sneaky and underhanded.  You can’t just set a device somewhere hidden and take pictures of me speeding and then mail me a ticket.”

What are they really saying?  “You can’t force me to slow down.  I have a constitutional right to drive as fast as i want, when i want.  Don’t even think of slowing me down.”

i told you i live in a small town of about 5,000 people.  There is no point rushing up here.  People here are more relaxed about a lot of things.  Not everything.  But a lot of things.

We have a hill in town.  At the bottom of the hill is a variety store.  And there is a crosswalk because there is a park and people.  Duh, right?  No brainer.  It is usually busy.  So our town has put up one of those signs at the bottom of the hill that tells you how fast you are going when you hit the bottom of that hill.  No radar.  No pictures.  Just a reminder that you are in a community zone and the speed limit is 40km/hr.

Let me make this clear.  i did not have this “more relaxed” mindset when we moved here.  i was an aggressive driver.  I’m the asshat that was on your bumper the whole way down the highway because you are only doing 130 km/hr!  If you are not going to keep up, get out of the way.  i beeped.  i cursed.  i fretted.  i fumed.

The speed limit?  100 km/hr.  If my metric shit gets in the way, you are likely American.  Get on board.  It’s an easier system and the whole world uses it except you.  Until then, your stubborn ass can look up the conversions.  (ok…this time…just cause i love you guys and your quaint little ways… that is about 60 m/hr).  It took me a couple of years, but i just drive the speed limit everywhere.  It is easier and safer for me, not to mention others on the road.

They just built a roundabout in town.  You know, a traffic circle.  In Cochrane, Ontario.  I kid you not.  It’s been quite  an adventure and maybe i’ll talk about it another time, let’s just say the hill was a detour route for traffic due to the construction.

Now picture this, my reader friends.  i am driving toward the hill (going up) and i see a HUGE truck.  They all look bigger since my accident years ago.  When a school bus runs over your van, it does things to you.  And so i still get a little nervous around big stuff on the road.

This HUGE truck has all the standard “i like to blow up” stickers blazoned across it’s silver shell.  Oh, it gets better.  The HUGE truck is pulling a HUGE trailer!  And it has boom stickers all over it as well.  So the warning stickers did their job and got my attention.

i thought he was going a little fast.  i think they all look too big and too fast.  So i glance in my rear mirror and looked at the radar sign.  62 km/hr!  In a community zone clearly posted at 40 km/hr.  And no, my racist white friends.  There were no turbans involved.  Just some skinny old white dude.  I think we are the only place i’ve seen so many skinny old white truck drivers.  I think truck drivers are cool, by the way.  Some of my best friends are truckers.  Only some of you will get that joke.

It does not matter that nothing happened.  It does not matter that there was no flaming ball of fire and an explosion.  It does not matter.  He needed to slow down,  You need to slow down.  i need to slow down.  Speed does things to us.  i do not believe the constant anxiety and pressure is good for individuals or society.

Now i am not depressed anymore and the fog is lifting as my brain gets more exercise.  That is a great thing, but my bipolar friends know something you mentally healthy people perhaps do not.  I may get caught racing to the other extreme of mania.  And there is lots of excitement in that zone, trust me.  Most bipolar people i have met would much rather be manic than depressed, so it is easy to get caught in the updraft.

Perhaps some of those very close friends are concerned this may happen, or that i am already there.  Trust me.  i have been here before, and i know it is easy to be so happy that i lose perspective. And i am not there now.  The glacial scars of depression have been deeply etched this time upon my soul, and recovery will not be quick as other times, i know.  But i am not manic.  A little giddy, perhaps, but that is all.

i am in a slower environment.  Speed is not so critical here and the pace reminds me to slow down and breathe.  I remind myself i have a program to follow, and it is getting easier day by day, because i take the time to put it in place.  And i take some time daily, at least once, to reflect on my progress.  Slow down John.  Breathe.  That is what i need to do and i am in the perfect environment for reflection.

I will quote Henry David Thoreau often as i reflect on this topic of speed.  He is an idol to me.  A man who went into the wilderness for a couple of years…just to reflect and thereby improve himself.  Very cool.  This is my Walden.  This is my safe place.

But i can slow down some more.  Just a bit.  Just to make sure i don’t wear myself out.  Just to make sure my recovery is steady.  My body and mind remind me from time to time:   You need a time out.  You need to take time to refresh.  Heal a bit.  Take a deep breath and know- despite how you feel at this very moment in time- that this one breath can bring healing and peace and comfort, even if it is only for that one breath.  Try it.  Time almost slows down.  i don’t know about you, but my healthy mental stability requires i breathe…a lot.Spoke to a friend who teaches yoga.  i am on the list.  i did yoga many, many years ago.  One of my new Christian friends back then told me it was a dangerous thing.  Opening yourself to demons and all that.

Got news for you, buddy.  i survived playing with Ouija boards.  No demons i know of.  Maybe they are still with me and i just don’t notice them, but if Hollywood has taught me anything, demons don’t just quietly sit in the background.   i think  i should have taught friend how to do yoga.  Dude needs to learn how to breathe.

Go ahead, my friends.  Right now.  Take that deep, belly-expanding breathe in slowly, and then exhale.  Take ten seconds in and ten seconds out.  Not sure if that is ok for smokers, but you’ll get used to it.  Might make you a little woozy the first couple of times so try it at home before you do it in traffic.  So that took how much of your day?  And you can do it anytime, anywhere.  Go ahead.  Do the breathing twice in a row and enjoy it.  That is called oxygen, my friends.  Cool, eh?

Yup.  That helps.  Me, anyhow.  And, true to my word, i will not try to rewrite something if someone else has done it fine somewhere else.  Ten essential rules for slowing down.

I am being selfish here.  We will be talking about slowing down for the next while because i need the constant reminders right now.  If you wish to come along, join in.  i hope you follow my blog and find it useful in your own journey toward better mental health.  And comment, please.  I like to know what works for you.  Others here will also benefit.

Final quote from my man:




2 thoughts on “Slow Down…Number One

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