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Saturday, August 17, 2013
I have lived in Salem for over a quarter century now and have adapted to most of its ways.
But one element of Salem living has baffled and confounded me all this time: The tendency of motorists — and not just the elderly — to drive straight down the middle of Carrollton Avenue at five miles under the 25 mph speed limit.
Granted, the street has no line dividing the lanes, but it is certainly not difficult to pick out the center of the road and to plot a course just to the right of it. Numerous times I have had a vehicle in front of me slow down to 20 and straddle the (theoretical) mid-line, causing me to assume that the driver wished to make a left turn, only to see the car continue unperturbed to the end of the street. An expectation of turn signals, of course, is a fool’s game.
Finally, after all these years, I set out to understand the phenomenon.
I directed my car to the notional midline and carefully maintained a speed of 20 mph. And now I get it. What a feeling of power! Oncoming traffic needed to careen a bit to avoid me, but luckily Carrollton is fairly broad, and heaven knows the other motorists had plenty of time to adjust.
I had the time to examine the state of each lawn as I passed and to ponder the race of every dog along what I think of as the Canine Latrine. I yelled “I’m King of the Avenue!” and wished fervently that my car had a prow upon which to stand as I spread my arms to the wind.
Now I feel one step closer to unity with my environment. I will also stop using my turn signals.
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