My Unfortunate Reputation

I’m not the family hussy, goth, or wiz kid. I’m not the nut in therapy nor am I the sloppy girl. I do, however, have a massive reputation in my family that I just can’t shake. I am the one that drives too slowly. Yep. I have a reputation for being a bit of a Grandma driver. Whenever the family chooses to carpool and I offer to drive, I get a quick, “That’s alright. We don’t want to be late.” Or I get, “Maybe next time if we leave a little earlier.”

Last month, my new brother-in-law experienced my slow driving for the first time. I drove up to Tualatin to hang out in a different coffee shop for a change. He apparently followed behind me all the way to Sherwood, not wanting to pass me should I think he drive too fast. I was always at the speed limit or two under so as not to break the law. He and I still hadn’t had our big bonding moment where I decided it was ok that he’d married my sister. He must have known this and decided to play it safe on the road. When he later told me that he’d been stuck behind me for 35 minutes of driving he said, “You sing really well in your car,” to try to change the subject of my slow driving.

My other brother-in-law Steen laughed at my slow driving a bunch this summer. I’m not really sure how he remembers how fast I drive. They live in Idaho and I see them on rare occasions, but still when we started planning for our trip to Northern Washington and Canada, Steen said that I was not allowed to take the wheel. He planned to go the full 8 miles over the speed limit all the way north and if I were driving, the caravan would never work.

This week, I started back at ADEC, the factory I have temped at no less than four different periods in my life. I made it back into the same department I worked last summer which meant that I didn’t have to worry about which table to occupy at lunch or break. I could go back to the old crew. I was sitting down for my first break with my old chair people when it happened. Kyle and Mark started talking about their morning drive.

“I knew you were going to pass those people on the way here. They were going SO slow,” Kyle said.

“Yeah,” Mark doesn’t usually say much. He’s more of a one-line kind of guy. Sometimes he’ll break out the full sentences, but often, you just get what’s going on with him by his wiggly smile.

I sat there and looked from side to side. Inside my head, I said, “Oh crap. They’re talking about me. Are they saying this so I’ll admit that I’m a slow driver? Do they know that it was me in the Cruiser?” There are times when I get like this: less cool, more insecure. Usually it has to do with my driving, my chocolate intake, or my boyfriend status.

Today, I’ve decided to embrace my reputation. I am a slow driver. I only occasionally drive the full 65 mph on the freeway. Sometimes, I stay in the right lane to keep away from the fast drivers. I can’t drive fast. You know why? I just can’t afford the speeding ticket. I would have to skip Dutch Bros once a month and I would have to cancel my purple journal order. I can’t do that. I’d rather just hang out in the right-hand lane.

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