Monday, August 09, 2010


I live in Winnipeg.  The speed limit on most Winnipeg streets is 60 km/h.

I grew up and learned to drive in Estevan, SK.  In this sleepy little town, the speed limit is 50 km/h.

While in Estevan on vacation two weeks ago, it took me about half a day of driving around to get accustomed to the slower speed.  At first I felt impatient; like I was dragging a slab of granite behind me.  In the "big city," you see, everybody is always in hurry.  We have places to go, and a long way to go to get to them.  It can take an hour to drive from one end to the other; longer if you take the "shortcut" of the Perimeter Highway. 

In Estevan, by contrast, if it took you 7 minutes to cross town, you knew traffic was thick.  Either that, or a freight train had bisected the city again, causing commerce and community to halt until the anonymous cargo was clear.

That 10 km/h makes you feel like you're going a lot faster.  But try driving at just 10 km/h and see how fast that is.  Or better yet, try driving 50 when everybody around you is doing 60 and see how many times you catch up to them at the next red light.

Once I became re-adjusted to the slower pace, the town felt like home again.  Now that I'm back in Winnipeg and can go 60 though, it feels so unnatural.  I feel like I'm being pushed everywhere I go when I'm in traffic flowing at the higher speed.

Looking back on my visit there, I recall feeling unanchored and lost at first (metaphorically, that is - my taxi-driving days there burned the layout of the town into my brain).  My family has all moved on, and there are only a few friends left there whom I had time to visit.  But once the slower pace kicked in and I gave myself permission to take my time, at that moment I felt my vacation peak - and I reached maximum relaxation.  It was nice.

Being back at work now and seeing the hectic and frenetic pace that our sales staff, operations crews, and customers operate at is tough.  Why can't we all just slow down and savour the world around us?  Why does everything have to be done yesterday?  Everybody, take a deep breath; chill out!

In a few moments I'll be leaving my house for my weekly time in our church's perpetual adoration chapel.  I think I'll do 50 on the way there.


  1. You should have walked - slower yet - Dad

  2. I like to pick up a Timmy's before I go; that would be a long walk. Plus I take my guitar, which is heavy.

  3. I can really relate to this! I hate driving on Interstate 80,(even in NE. b/c it's gotten so 'busy') I much prefer the slower byways in our lovely state. Traveling around Nebraska on the silvery gray ribbons of highway throughout, is a calming, prayerful, peaceful, almost 'sacred' time for me. Get me out of Omaha, and out into the wide prairie and it's a whole new, slower-paced, soothing, heavenly world!

  4. I'll agree with you on this one. Coming in from Ottawa, I hit the horn a few times the first day or two.


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