Monday, May 29, 2006


I used to think I was a big fan of the rural environment. But now, living in one while finishing my family practice rotation, I'm changing my mind. I'm sitting in the one place in town I can access the internet for free and actually use it. This is the only place I can access this site, for example, since my hospital blocks it. The problem is this is an "internet cafe" contiguous with a gas station convenience store. So the air is redolent with hotdog grease, cigarettes, and petrochemicals. At least there is internet access I guess. And that alone means this isn't truly rural. But I'm not going to split hairs there.

Mostly I'm in a bad mood because I just got a speeding ticket. I'm convinced it is only because I have out-of state plates on my car, and I'm having deep, philosophical musings on the fascist nature of traffic cops. I actually asked the cop why he didn't pull over the guy who was passing me, and he said "he was going 2 miles slower than you." Now, I didn't major in physics, but if someone is passing you, they are, by definition, going faster than you are. The other driver was fortunate to have in-state plates though. Grrr. However, life is unfair, and I was speeding. So whatever. I can't wait to return to the metropolis, where 10 miles over is 5 miles too slow.


tinea said...

Okay, you may be right about the ticket (and certainly are about the physics of the passing car), but still I've seen you drive. You only get so much sympathy. :)

As for rural living, it has some advantages (especially if there is no television or internet around to distract). How often do we get to end a book that we've thoroughly enjoyed and turn to the first page to start it again, given that we truly have nothing better to do?

So cheer up, young chap. Besides, you're only there for a short time, and then it's back to overcrowded Starbucks and drivers whose only goal in life is to keep you from changing lanes. There are perks to country living (the pace being a great one of them - and one that I rather think might well match your more introspective nature).

Thainamu said...
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tmm said...

Sucks about the ticket... 2mph slower?? People do that all the time in my field - trust the instruments and forget to use their heads

thebeloved said...

Having driven through rural towns (they are all over Idaho!) I find that the cops are really mostly bored and the out of state plates just means that they probably won't have to see you in the poker club or coffee shop the very next day.

On another note, one of my friends used to e-mail me from a po-dunk internet cafe. I got told so many funny stories about tie-dye shirts and people who read over the shoulder of the person typing. How strange. Just think of it as a chance to observe the random oddities of humans when not packaged into the cramped space of city life.

MrStandfast said...

I think the moment I kicked through the front door on a vacant row house in west philly and heard someone scrambling out the back one, was when I realized I didn't want to be crawling through the kerosene stained belly of the beast city forever. Take your pick, the teeming insect evils of the concrete jungle, or the quiet, stephen king insidious rural ones. either way its just a question of how much, and in what proxomity. The kinds vary, and I guess that's what we like to hear about, variance.
We're spoiled, like I said the other day, coming from Duluth. You have the best of both worlds. Busy, bright and tourist filled city, water to the horizon, and up north, deep green that is everything and nothing. Everyone knew our names at the restaurants and gas stations, but you could go to the mall and not see anyone you knew. I still miss it. Elsewhere, you can be an alien on a busy street, or you can be under the glass of a small town with no sense of whose business is their own.

I was out running in Duluth, and I stopped to talk to this girl whose motercycle had broken down. She tol d me she was driving north, I didn't ask where north. She was beautiful, blonde, not real looking at all. she had pulled the sleeves of her leather catsuit off her shoulders and tied them around her waist, and was sitting outside a gas station while someone worked on her Indian, an antique. She was from Colorado, and we talked about biking, running, skiing. Then I had to leave, and her bike was repaired. She drove north and I ran home.
I wrote a story (sent you it I think) about being up a roof above the city in Philadelphia. there I could just watch people walking, walking walking. Just faces. Bein g up above it all, I could see the anonymity, the kind of busy emptiness.

I guess in contrast to the girl on her Indian, the city and the country each have something empty in them.

Oh yeah...don't speed. (also don't admit your speed to an officer of the law and take the ticket to court. chances are he won't show up, and if he does say you don't know how fast you were going and ask if he double checked your speed since that equipment is quite flawed.)


S. Lee said...

nathan, nathan. sorry to hear about the ticket. small communities can be suffocating.

But you did make a mistake. You didn't catch the cop's error: I'm not sure about your auto, but mine certainly has a precision of +/-5 mph. This means that discerning differences between 52 mph and 55 mph is impossible with the instrument you are using. Now if you really want to use physics, you may as well confuse the cop by launching into a lecture about how anything between say 50-55 mph has got to be the same with modern autos, or else the gauges will have to change. There is no way for you to tell what speed you are going. Now if you are to rely on the radar gun, then we should have access to that information - "because then we wouldn't speed," right?

Regardless, if you're already getting a ticket, might as well make it interesting.

On another note, I got pulled over a few days ago - I got caught running stop lights on my bicycle.

Nathan said...

Wow, what a response.

Tinea - hey, come on, give me some credit...

Thainamu - You're right, my past is probably catching up with me. C'est la vie.

tmm - it happens in medicine too. But the reason there are still doctors, and not just robots, is because instruments lie, as you well know.

thebeloved - yeah, although this is the south, so there are fewer tie-dyed shirts, and more "my Harley-Davidson ran over your honor student" types.

Mr. Standfast - And you didn't set her up with me? Dude, what kind of brother are you?

S. lee - next time I get pulled over (may it never happen again) I want you in the passenger seat. Better yet, in the driver's seat :)

eLr said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You got a speeding ticket!!!!!!

of course, I got one too not long ago, so I'm not one to speak...