I have a car that can reach about 140 mph and I love it. I love that such an incredible speed is something I can achieve all on my own! As a human! Windows down, music blasting, pedal to the metal, watching that speedometer rattle at its max is frickin’ EXHILIRATING. Just having the power to drive 140 mph whenever and wherever I want is a real trip, man.
I mean, I don’t always go that fast. A conservative 100 is more my speed, pun intended. It’s much more manageable, especially in more populated spots.
What was that? Yeah, even in neighborhoods! That’s my favorite place to do it. Speed bumps and roundabouts make it extra fun.
Speed limits? What about ’em? Oh yeah, I know they exist. But I don’t know… I don’t understand the point.
Why would the company that made my car even design it to reach 140 mph if they didn’t want me to go that fast, you know? They’ve been doing this way longer than whoever came up with speed limits, so I’m more inclined to trust them.
Come again? Oh, I know there are kids. There are kids everywhere! Everywhere. But I see them in time, don’t worry. I’m extremely vigilant. Everything is under control.
No, no. I don’t slow down or anything, I just make it abundantly clear I’m coming, blast my horn and all that, there’s no way they can miss me.
And they look both ways before crossing the street anyway, right? Like, why is it entirely up to me to make sure they’re safe? They’re just as responsible for their own well-being! Left, right, left—it’s not that hard.
But now you’re pissing me off. You think I don’t know they’re more vulnerable? Of course I realize they could get hurt. Of course I know somebody could die. But why should that affect me? Why should I have to alter my behavior for their sake? If I’m comfortable doing 100, I’m gonna do it, I don’t care if I’m on an interstate or a residential road. If people are worried about getting in the way, that’s for them to figure out.
And while we’re on the subject, who has the right to set these speed limits anyway? How do they know 25 is even that much safer? I’d like to see the data to support that claim.
Eh, maybe not that data. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is way too political. “Independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization” sounds corrupt as hell.
What about data from someone like… like the company that made my car! I know those guys. They’re good guys. That data would be way more reliable, I’m sure.
Have I reached peak absurdity yet? Because I can keep going.
I can talk about the restrictions on my vroom vroom machine being totally emasculating. I can point to the NASCAR driver I’ve chosen to idolize and the fact that he’s sped his whole life without hurting anyone so obviously we’re all just overreacting.
I can reiterate that I don’t give a flying fuck about other people. That the possibility of contributing to someone’s death doesn’t bother me one bit.
I can choose not to trust people who have spent their whole lives collecting and analyzing actual data, only because the conclusion they’ve reached is a massive inconvenience to me—so they can’t possibly be right.
Or—hear me out—I could drive the speed limit.
I know it’s a wild departure from my usual persona as a total badass who can’t be controlled, who’s immune to the dangers of society that may drag everyone else down, who knows a shameless propaganda scheme when she sees one.
But I already drive the speed limit, even when I don’t feel like it.
Because we all drive the speed limit, even when we don’t feel like it.
Because it keeps us out of trouble, yes, but it also keeps everyone—you, me, the kids in my neighborhood, the grandmother taking her shopping cart to the proper corral like a goddamn angel, the server bringing me lunch, the postal worker saving the world—safe.
So I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we all trust science, know (not ~*believe*~) COVID is real, and wear a fucking mask.
Wear a fucking mask because it keeps people safe.
In case you’re wondering how I feel.