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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To my speeding pals...

Speeding in a car down the highway is probably the most fun you could ever have. I love doing it. I speed in neighbourhoods, schools, parking lots and even at the office basement... basically, wherever I can. I love showing off the power of my 1993 Toyota Corolla. (I'm pretty sure that means 1,993 horsepower!)

So anyway, I'm doing my usual weekend trip to Nakuru along Waiyaki Way, scooting along at 130 kph to 140 kph, a good 20-30 kph above the legal speed limit. I'm feeling good. I crack my passenger window ever so slightly just to get a tiny listen of that sweet, sweet whiffing noise as I pass the idiotic slow laners.

I pass this one car, a sweet 90's Toyota Tercel, white with custom rust marks and scratches. I fail to get a good look at the driver as I go by, and I feel sad about that, because I usually like to get a glimpse of people's shame as I pass them. But I snap out of it and continue flying along. I casually pick my rear-view mirror up from the passenger seat and lift it up to eye level so I can see out the back window. (My car still has a manual rear-view mirror. OLD SCHOOL!) There is that Tercel again, inching its way back up to my rear bumper. I'm thinking, "IT'S ON!"

But no, it was clearly not on. The Tercel was keeping its distance, and it was now going the exact same speed as me.

Now I'm confused, but also intrigued. I'm slowed down slightly by a Range Rover in the fast lane. The driver's ignoring my rapid honks and head light flashes, which of course mean "get out of the way you damn old person/principled idiot/woman". The Range finally rolls into the left lane. I slam the accelerator hard to show them that I am upset, and roar past them at 120 kph. In the meantime, the Tercel had gone all the way into the far left lane where there was a joining lane in a daring manoeuvre and had passed the Range on the right. Now it's just us with a half a kilometre of road ahead of us before more traffic. Neck and neck, I finally get a good look at the driver. Male, professional speeder, not slowing anybody else down, knows the tricks of the trade. A real man's man. Like me. I look at him and he looks at me. And it was at that moment that we knew we were... Speeding Friends!

The next fifty minutes of the drive were amazing. We cut and wove through traffic like surgeons performing an appendectomy. Forcing others aside, team honking, synchronized middle fingers and more. I can't express how great it was having someone watching my back for the police while I do what I love to do. But soon enough, that became a problem.

After passing one particularly slow pack of cars downhill near Kinungi, my new friend in the Tercel sped ahead, hitting somewhere in the 170 kph range. Amused, but not impressed, I begin to accelerate as well. In my peripheral vision, I see a blue and white Nissan X-Trail parked somewhere down hill along the highway near Karai, just as my Speeding Friend turned the corner to approach the roadblock. . I immediately drop to 110 kph as the policeman with a speed gun zeroes in on my speeding friend who still doesn't see the policeman. I flash my lights and hazards, press the water to turn on my wipers multiple times and even point with my finger over the roof of my car at the policeman, but to no avail. Sure enough: the cop raises his hand and my newfound friend is pulled over and his DL confiscated.

After what seems like forever, I get to the scene where the cop stopped my speeding friend. With his window down, I can finally get a good look at the guy's face. I slow down to 80 kph and pass with an expression of deepest respect and concern. He's been through this a million times, right? He knows the drill. He'll say he had his music on too loud and the kapuka pumped him up and he lost track of his speed. Or that his wife just had a baby in Naivasha. Or that he is going to the hospital to have something removed from his stomach. Or that he thought the car was actually dong 100 kph, how slow is this jalopy? (All of these excuses work equally well.) But no-- he shouts to me as I pass, "Weweee!!! I'll catch you before Gilgil Daddy!" He just blew his cover; he admitted guilt. He's doomed.

Another lost speeder.

These words had such an effect on me, I felt compelled to do this post. I had once considered myself an unmatchable solo-speeder. I have since learned the folly of such selfish thoughts. So strong was the bond between us, I would have paid HALF of that guy's bribe money. OK, not half, maybe less. But that's not the point. Now, whenever I go driving, I pick up as many speeding buddies as I can. I had assembled a speeding posse from Narok to Kericho once, composed of complete strangers. It was amazing. You can immediately tell who is a worthwhile speeding buddy, because they won't get too far ahead or behind, and they use the signals to warn you of cops, when they want to pass you or if your wheel is coming off.

I encourage you other speeders out there in to seek this bond with others. Don't be competitive; work as a team and your speeding experience will grow more enjoyable by threefold, just like a threesome.


the said...

o hai.

i should take a break. clearly it does help with the writing.

the folly of considering myself an unmatchable solo speeder? its no folly son, i am, unchallenged.


>d® said...

Glad to know there are speeders everywhere!

Mindhunter said...

Nothing beats that road on a speed bike.Wind blowing all over, crusing at like 170 damnnnnnn i miss it.
Would have totally loved that experience of leaving you behind. I love that road. ohhh work as a time yesss work as a team...

nancy said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Chris said...
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