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I Can't Drive 55

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I Can't Drive 55

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Let’s set the way back machine to 1984, that is, if you remember 1984.  Like much of the 70’s, if you remember 1984, you probably weren’t there.  1984 was the year that the 1949 George Orwell novel, Nineteen eighty-four, was set in.   That novel was, and still is, one of extreme fascination for the number of terms and concepts that have subsequently become infused into our lexicon.  Newspeak, doublethink, thoughtcrime are all terms that come to mind.  There is one prevailing term from the Orwellian list above all others: Big Brother.


Another residual memory from 1984 is the Sammy Hagar song, I Can’t Drive 55.  In 1984 the national speed limit was 55 miles per hour.  That song was reportedly inspired, by a citation issued to Mr. Hagar for doing 62 in a 55 on a deserted highway at two in the morning.  He started writing the lyrics to the song after signing the ticket, before he drove away.  I believe that ticket paid off for him. 


Recently, I have noticed a reduction in the speed limit on Briley Parkway on the northwest loop, between Whites Creek Pike and County Hospital Road from 65 to 55.  I know not why.  It would seem no one has noticed, as there is no discernable change in driving pace along that corridor.  I don’t know why I think it would be different there than anywhere else; it would seem we interpret 55as a ‘suggested’ speed limit.  Apparently no one can drive 55.


There is yet another memory for me of 1984.  I fell in love, head-over-heels, with a girl named Renée.  I’m still head-over-heels in love with that girl; we were married the next year!  By the way, that girl is having a birthday next week.  I won’t say how many, but look for the speed limit signs along Briley Parkway for a clue. 


While you’re on Briley Parkway, come on out to the Whites Creek Pike exit to Bates Nursery: 20% off EVERYTHING!* excluding gift cards/deliveries*


David Bates


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