Bee in the Bonnet: Enough to Drive an Injun Crazy!

By B.H. Bates

Natives are wanderers by nature; we just have to see what’s over that next horizon. I suspect that’s why I have so many cuz’s.

Natives have traveled from the frozen North country to the tropics, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and all points in between. I defy you to name an interstate, a highway or a dirt road that we haven’t been down before.

My wife and I own a business that takes us from town to town up and down the Okanagan Valley. And it’s during these weekly road trips that I’ve seen so many inconsiderate and ignorant drivers that it’s enough to drive an Injun crazy!

I’ve had speeders blow by me like I was pushing a wheel-barrel. But they’re not the ones that worry me. Besides, it’s just a matter of time before they’ll run into a cop, a telephone pole or the proverbial innocent by-stander.

No … the ones that worry me are the slow drivers, the ones I call ‘turtles.’ You know the ones: “I’ve got no where to go and all day to get there.”

I’ve tried my best to make them aware that the passing lane is for exactly that – passing. I’ve used my signal lights to inform them of their incorrect use of the lanes. I’ve politely given them the single digit salute as I passed them using the slow lane and all to no avail.

I’ve even, at times, gotten a little agitated at some of these shoddy drivers and I can understand how some (other) people go ‘postal’ and get ‘ROAD RAGE!’

But what can I do? Then I thought – “Hey, I write for a newspaper! I’ll get the word out to the masses and hopefully put a stop to these self-appointed traffic cops.”

“HEY! STUPID! YEAH, YOU! The one who does fifty clicks an hour on ‘my’ highway. In the name of the Great Spirit look in your rear view mirror once in-a-while, if you see a pissed off Indian or more than five cars lined up behind you, pull over … NOW!”

More pointers for touring turtles
You may think you’re doing the world a favor, by slowing other drivers down, but you’re not! In reality, you’re making the roadways even more dangerous. By going slower, you’re clogging up the ‘flow’ of traffic. I’ve even read where some police officers believe that the speed limits we have today are unrealistic.

When a slow driver holds up a line of traffic there will, inevitably, be someone in that line of cars who’s willing to risk an unsafe pass. If the slower drivers pull over to let the faster traffic ‘flow,’ we wouldn’t have half as many head on crashes and the unfortunate loss of life.

The only thing worse than one turtle is two! One, plodding along in the slow lane and a fellow tortoise beside him in the fast lane … for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles!

I was witness to one incident, where one driver had enough of these side-by-side turtles driving down the highway. He managed to get in front of the turtle in the fast lane and he slammed on his brakes, got out of his car and started to ramble back to the turtle, who was now forced to a dead stop right in the middle of the roadway.

I wish I could’ve seen what happened next, but unfortunately I rounded the next corner and I missed the street justice handed out that day! I can only hope he dragged that turtle out from his shell and slapped him up side the head with his own mirror! Oh, my! Oh, that felt so good to write … ahhhh!

Even the most peaceful among us can have thoughts of violence. In today’s world of “Hurry-up, Rush, Next,” we have to keep up or we lose our place in line.

There’s just not enough hours in a day to make time pay. So when the turtles of the world park in front of us – I say we make turtle soup! Or pass a law like the state of Oregon: make it illegal to have more than five cars behind you or you could face stiff fines. And if I had my way ‘Scalping’ would be imposed for repeat offenders!

You know, as I reflect back to the days of the bow and arrow … I’ll bet that the natives of yesteryear weren’t ‘circling the wagons’ trying to kill those early pioneers. They were probably just trying to get them to pull over so they could pass them with their Pintos, Broncos and Mustangs!