Small, Existential Triumph

I am driving home on the dual carriageway. I have the car set on cruise control at 60 mph as I am not in a hurry.

I see in my rear view mirror a minibus approaching slightly faster than me and as we are about to go into a dip before there is a long hill climb up the carriageway. I know the driver will want to maximise the speed in that dip to help ‘slingshot’ the heavier vehicle up the lengthy incline. I consider going faster myself to allow the driver to make that increase in speed, but decide it’s not for me to make any adjustments. I’m on cruise, as I say, and quite content to stick at my speed in my lane, which is my right.

Sure enough, I see the minibus pick up a little speed, get near to the back of my car, but by this time we are moving out of the dip and up the hill. The minibus begins an attempt to overtake, but the cruise control keeps my speed at that constant 60 mph, and the driver in the minibus drifts back and has to pull in behind.

All the way up the hill the minibus is barking at my heels, matching my speed, and making one of those gestures motorists make when it hasn’t worked out for them. A gesture with the minibus rather than anything else. Indeed, the driver keeps both hands on the wheel throughout. But I can tell the driver is miffed by sticking so close. I don’t care. I’m cruising home, not having to make any adjustments, and at ease with things.

At the top of the long hill and just as the road levels out there’s my turning left to go home. The minibus is beginning to gain some speed, and I do put my indicator on so the driver doesn’t need to make another attempt to overtake, knowing I will be out of the way in a moment. As I move into the sliproad, the minibus begins to pass on the right. In fact, it’s at this point I confirm it is a minibus, rather than a van. I also then see the name of the minibus owner printed down the side, and I read as it passes slowly by, finally on its way having been kept in check by my determination not to alter my speed or course: Torquay Boys Grammar School.

Not an exhilarating win, but a small, existential triumph.


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