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Spires: Life in the fast lane

Spires: Life in the fast lane

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Isn’t it funny that when you are young you always seem to want to do everything quickly?

There was never time to slow down and, as the old saying goes, “take time to smell the roses.”

I occasionally think about that now, especially since I’ve gotten older, and things naturally slowed down. Walking fast is not a priority for me anymore, neither is driving fast.

There was a time in my life when I seemed to always be in a hurry. I had to be somewhere all the time and very seldom did I slow down.

That went for my driving as well. I liked to drive fast; however, believe it or not, I have never had a speeding ticket. There were a few occasions when I got stopped, but I learned early on not to argue with an officer, and it paid off. That and I very seldom drove over the speed limit in a town.

I remember once when I had to be in Atlanta early one morning when I lived in Carrollton. I did not like Interstate 20, which is the main road into Atlanta from the west, because of the erratic drivers.

That particular morning, I decided to be one of those erratic drivers and stay with the flow of traffic. It didn’t take long before I was doing 100 mph trying to stay up. Even for someone who at the time liked to drive fast, it scared me to be going that fast in six lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic.

If you have ever driven through downtown Atlanta on the interstate, you understand exactly what I’m talking about.

One minute you are going 100 mph and the next you are stopped or crawling along at 3 mph. I learned my lesson that day and never drove that fast again, at least through Atlanta.

About 20 years ago, I started slowing down, partly because I wasn’t always in such a hurry and partly because of gas mileage. You see speed drinks a lot of gas, with the gas shortages and now high prices I’m more concerned with getting as many miles out of a tank of gas as I can.

So, between my age and my pocketbook, I have slowed down dramatically. As a matter of fact, I seldom drive over the speed limit.

I also tend to smell more roses than I used to, I’m not always in a hurry and for the most part still get a lot accomplished. If I could go back to tell my younger self anything, it would be to slow down some and enjoy the scenery better.

I’d also tell myself that if I had slowed down back then, gas prices might have been lower today.

Byron Spires is a retired newspaper editor. He has written dozens of short stories and serials in the Havana Herald. He recently published “The Curious Life of Marci Bell” in a series of three books. You can email him at


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