The Journal Gazette
Saturday, June 12, 2021 1:00 am

Distance control

It's satisfying to go back where you came from

Frank Hill

Over the years, we have owned cars with cruise control. It is a nice feature when driving on interstate highways. However, cruise control on our current car makes the highway trips slower.

When I have the cruise control and distance control features operating and I pass another car, it can feel like I am driving in reverse. It happens when I pass one car and another car is in front of me. Then my car slows down, distancing me from the car in front. It irritates both me and the driver of the car I just passed.

It feels like I am backing up, returning to the place I just left. My only recourse is to deactivate the distance control feature. Then I can be like the guy in that old joke: “The only thing I hate worse than a tailgater is someone who drives too slowly in front of me.”

So, while driving at highway speed, I turn off the distance control feature, stopping my retreat from any car immediately in front of me. The resulting sensation is how it must feel to be a circus performer shot out of a cannon.

In our smart car, my wife and I took a long trip up north over the recent Memorial Day holiday. The weather was good, though perhaps a little chilly.

Our destination was a Michigan location where we see many of the same people year after year. Those friends come from homes in Texas, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Florida.

We know Indiana is our home. We take it with us wherever we go. Our Texas friends bring their home state, too, but fortunately they leave the hurricanes, floods and heat waves back in Houston.

I think the Texas husband wishes bad things to happen to me. In the month of May, he always asks if I have been swimming yet. He knows, and I know, that the lake is cold in May. He also knows that I will swim in May just to prove to him that I can.

The Texan thinks I am reluctant to get in the cold lake. My wife is thinking I am an idiot if I do. And, you know, both are correct.

After my cold swim, I stand in a hot shower for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, “Tex” is on his deck enjoying his second glass of wine and watching the sunset. He enjoys the rainbow of colors. He cannot see such sunsets in Texas because, he claims, the sun never sets in Texas.

Out-of-state visitors are tolerated in Michigan because they pay a higher fee to get a fishing license. Hoosiers are especially welcomed by Michiganders because of our naiveté. When they ask us if we have two tens for a five, we say yes and make the trade.

Souvenir shops sell us shirts and hats with the names of Michigan tourism sites. We wear them in Indiana to provide free advertising for the Michigan locales. That explains why some Michigan highways have a 75 mph speed limit. They want us to get to our destination as soon as possible.

Our friend from Iowa is low key. For years I thought she complained about her kitchen sink being clogged. My wife discreetly informed me that the Iowan's references were to clogging in Pella during their Tulip Days.

Clogging? Why would anyone wear wooden shoes? Even horses know enough to wear more comfortable shoes.

My understanding is that race horses use aluminum horseshoes. It helps them get ahead in life.

Getting on in life is what many high school and college graduates are commencing this month. Eventual arrival at their intended destination is likely. That assumes their distance control does not pull them back to where they started.

So what if they are pulled back? I bet you and I and our friends from Texas, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Florida and elsewhere can agree on one thing. Going back where you came from, even if only for a visit, can be wonderful.

I know that is not funny. I did not mean it to be.

Frank Hill is a Fort Wayne resident.

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