3.18 The Left Lane

During a long car ride, I started noticing something about other drivers. Some people, no matter what, will always need to be in the left lane. On a busy highway, a man in a SUV was driving twenty kilometers under the speed limit in the left lane. It did not bother him that a line of cars were behind him, the drivers getting increasingly angrier with each kilometer. I passed him in the middle lane to get a good look at him because it’s important for me to put a face with those that are doing less than smart things. He was just cruising along, not a care in the world. Get out of the left lane.

Now, I’m not a fast driver, so I stick to where I’m wanted. But there is something about that left lane, something tougher, more manly – maybe because it’s the fast lane. As I was driving in the middle lane, unencumbered and with an open road, and looked in my mirror to see all those people behind Mr. SUV, I wondered why didn’t they take advantage of the other two lanes available. I guess the left lane is for tough people while the other lanes are for smart people.

I also noticed this at the gym. Being an avid swimmer, I’ve noted all kinds of interesting behavior when it comes to gym and pool etiquette. At most pools, there are lanes separating fast swimmers from slow, and where I currently swim, there are three lanes, incorporating medium-level swimmers. The fast lane is for serious swimmers, people doing hardcore laps. I know they are serious because they often were swim caps.

Without fail, almost every guy that comes in to swim makes a bee line right towards the fast lane, which, much like the road, is the left lane. I can’t count how many times I’ve been leisurely doing my laps with the slow lane all to myself as guy after guy jumps into the fast lane. There would be five or six of them, getting mad and frustrated because it’s too busy, while I float on past, unencumbered and with an open lane.

My absolute favorite situation occurs when, similar to Mr. SUV, a slow swimmer enters the fast lane. I mean slow, like he might make it in the slow lane, but people would still probably glare. I’ve watched guys swim so slow in the fast lane that they might as well have not been moving at all. But they don’t even notice because it doesn’t matter – they are in the left lane.

And so, I thought about this concept of the left lane. What is it about the left lane? Is it a psychological condition? Why if people are moving slow do they still insist on being in that lane? Should we rename the left lane The Man Lane? I know what people would say about that, but in my totally unscientific observations, many times it has been men insisting they need to be in that left lane.

My proposition is this: not only rename it, but create an entire lane dedicated to people who believe in the necessity of being in that lane. I understand this will take the enormous undertaking of restructuring every road, highway and swimming pool, but we are in a recession and this initiative could actually be a real job creator. This lane is designated for those that have the burning internal need to be all the way to the left. The Man Lane.