I am scared. I like quiet. I’m easily bothered by noise. I spend much of my days in libraries. I get startled and jump out of my seat quite easily. So, because of all these points and characteristics, I think I’ve generated enough reasons to support why I’m a slow driver. What in the world is the link?
I drive a standard. Most of the people I know say I am a waste of a standard and do it disgrace. They say it’s painful to sit in the passenger side of my car while watching me drive as if I’m on eggshells. In a nutshell, I drive slow, or more accurately, I am slow to accelerate and reach peak speed. The exact reason for this is because I shift too quickly. People are right, I do.
And here is when the connection to noise and disturbances come back full circle. When trying to hold down the gas longer before shifting gears, the car gets noisy as you rev. I often find it noisy even at 3000 rpms and shift at or just under this number. The passengers shake their heads in disgust. And I guess if there are cars behind me stopped at a traffic light, they shake their fists (and the odd finger) in disgust when the light turns green because it’s obvious that I lose speed and momentum when shifting. I am sorry.
Whenever the rpms go up, and I hear that noise, am I intuitively thinking I’m doing damage to the car? Or, am I suddenly thrust into the role of a sadist when I’m obviously more stable and at home at the other end, according to every single psychological test that I have ever done. Of course other drivers are not going to have the patience to allow me to get out of my car and explain this at the next set of lights. So, another solution is needed.
How can I resist my natural tendency to shift gears in search of quiet and to avoid the noise of high rpms? Well, this past week, I test drove an idea with music. I increased the volume of my tunes and purposely selected music that was not gentle. In this way, the music slightly covered up, softened, or insulated a bit of the sound from the engine. And I also decided to not look at my rpm gauge, since I tend to automatically switch when the dial hits 3.
Admittedly, it worked. I felt something, a little bit, just a small bit of that adrenalin that they always advertise to full throttle in those car commercials. I have never taken Viagra, but is this what they mean when they say what they mean…you know what I mean?
Anyways, just like what they mean, you can’t keep it up forever, especially if it’s just not in your personality. Soon after, I was getting bothered by the loud music and trying to think of ways to cover up and drown out that noise. Eventually, quite naturally, I didn’t have to look hard to hear another sound that clearly smothered everything else to minimalistic background. My beating heart!
These days, beside my insurance, license, and registration info, I keep copies containing results of my psychological tests and medical records. In case other drivers, passengers, or even police, are curious why I switch gears so early.