When we made the decision to move to Vancouver Island in British Columbia, we psyched ourselves up for big changes: rain and gloom in the winter; exorbitantly priced government-administered auto insurance; and laid-back ‘Island Time’ instead of Calgary’s relentless work-hard-play-hard drive.
And speaking of ‘drive’…
Even before we moved, I had an inkling that driving might be, um… different here. If I was travelling 110 km/hr in Alberta and a vehicle passed me as though I was standing still, I knew it would be either a white Alberta half-ton (for some reason white Alberta half-tons always speed) or a vehicle with BC plates. And when we went on a holiday a few years ago in the BC interior, we discovered that if we weren’t driving 30 km/hr over the speed limit we were obstructing traffic.
So, fine. I moved here believing that BC drivers are speed demons.
But they’re not. They’re just totally nuts.
BC drivers are oblivious to speed limits. They may travel at 30 km/hr over the posted limit, but they’re equally likely to dip 30 km/hr under the limit for no apparent reason. And they don’t choose a speed and drive it consistently. Oh, hell no; that would be boring. A vehicle pottering along at 80 km/hr in a 120 zone will probably whoosh past doing 140 only a few minutes later.
And passing is a competitive sport here – a slow-moving vehicle is only a fiendish ruse. The driver toodles along until I signal a lane change and pull up alongside his vehicle, and then he accelerates to match my speed. And accelerates. And accelerates some more, until we’re hurtling along side by side much faster than I wanted to go.
When I capitulate and pull in behind him he immediately slows well below the posted limit, all ready to play again when I make another attempt to pass.
If somebody did that on the prairies, I’d know they were purposely messing with me. But here, the driver just smiles vacantly through the windshield as though he doesn’t have a clue I’m even there. Hell, he probably doesn’t. He’s floating along in a happy cannabis-tinted world of his own making.
It’s a testament to the idiocy out here that I drove Calgary’s Deerfoot Trail this December with a sigh of relief. The Deerfoot is a freeway that cuts through the middle of the city, varying from six to twelve lanes wide and featuring bumper-to-bumper traffic weaving in and out at 100 km/hr. And I turned to Hubby and said, “Should I be concerned that I’m finding this a relaxing and pleasantly predictable drive?”
But that doesn’t mean I want to move back to Calgary. Oh hell NO. The 800+ bulbs I planted last fall are already poking their noses out of the ground, our heather is in bloom, and our baby rhododendrons have fat promising buds. Spring is just around the corner here, and for that I’m willing to hone my defensive-driving skills. Like the rest of the BC drivers, I’ll just consider it a sport.
As long as it doesn’t become a full-contact sport, everything will be fine…
P.S. I’m risking my life and sanity doing a road trip today, so I’ll check in this afternoon. ‘Talk’ to you then!