I've become the tortoise. It only took 50 years to figure this out - being the hare doesn't always pay off in the end.
I remember riding with my grandparents and being irritated that they seemed to never be in a hurry. I was the hare; they were the tortoises. Heck, grandpa even got a ticket one time for going too slow on the highway. As he laughed it off, I remember thinking seniors should be outlawed from driving if they can't keep up with the rest of us. The thing of it was, grandpa always got us there safe and, because we'd leave much earlier than we needed to, on time.
Now the proof is in the pudding, as a new study was recently released that says children riding with their grandparents are less likely to be hurt if in an accident than riding with their parents. Seriously, it was on the news and then I even double-checked it on msnbc.com.
I have joined the generation of the tortoise, and I'm good with it. Driving the speed limit or under the limit, takes the pressure of off braking quickly when spotting the nice police officer who's pointing a radar gun at your vehicle. No worries here, just moseying along.
The problem comes when the hares on the roadway don't want to slow down and smell the roses. It seems their goal is to run over the roses, share a hand signal that isn't the peace sign, and blast past this old geezer. Once I catch up to them at the stoplight, I often want to get out and politely ask them if all of the speeding, passing and swerving did them any good since we're both still at the same place and the same time.
While sitting at the stoplight, next to the speeder who passed me by just a few moments ago, it reminds me of that commercial where the guy nonchalantly leans over and says, "excuse me, do you have any Grey Poupon?" I could do the same except I would ask, "excuse me, can you turn down the radio/stop texting/get off your cell phone and drive slower?"
Yep, it's official. I'm over 50, a senior citizen, a tortoise and I'm proud of it.
I can now tolerate standing in the longest line at the grocery store, and don't mind that I may have to sit in the lobby of the doctor's office for 30 minutes before my name is called.
The tortoise is slow because time is on his side. He has his shell to protect him and, knowing one step at a time is all it takes to make progress, eventually the destination is reached or the goal is attained.
It's good to get old and finally understand life is just a fairytale.
Page 2 of 2 - Sandy Turner lives in the Kansas City area and writes this column for GateHouse Media.