Saturday, April 5, 2008

Coasting ... with Rollers

With the price of gas skyrocketing nationwide many, no doubt, have thought about heading home for work. But before you do, I may have a one-word answer - simply profound and profoundly simple - that could keep you both on the road and on your favorite job.

Coast. That's right, coast. Webster defines it as moving "effortlessly; by force of gravity." I like my wife-family treasurer-better half's definition better.

"Take your foot off the pedal and go as far as you can without having to give it the gas."

I have to tell you that the first time she told me that - not suggested, told, as the controller of the family purse strings - I'm sure she read the caption reply over my head, written in one of those cloudy boxes: "Real men don't do that."

But I have to admit that after the first time I tried it, I was hooked by the gravitational pull of coasting - it's completely, in the vernacular of the day, off the chain. And its benefits extend much further than gas savings.

I'm afraid, as a society, we still haven't learned that it's never good to be in a hurry, for both safety and emotional-well-being reasons. COAST! When you're cruising down that hill - you're likely to maintain your speed, but now in a glide mode, there's a peaceful easy feeling that comes over you the likes of which The Eagles never knew. At least of the non-bird stripe.

Quite appropriately, an alternate definition of coasting is to "sail along the shore." Now, we still have to pay attention so it may not be the time to slip in Jimmy Buffett's "Cheeseburger in Paradise at this point, but you're getting close.

And think of the gas you've already saved.

Many are already anticipating my take on the motorists who are now SO behind me, and probably listening to "You're Going to Drive Me to Drinkin' If you Don't Stop Driving that Hot Rod Lincoln." As there's a good chance they have yet to buy into your newfound philosophy, this is probably the time to slowly accelerate.

Or, if you're the dogmatic type you could keep coasting - but in this day and age, a little road rage could be possible - so just speed up, and look for your next opportunity.

It gets kind of fun. You know your routes. When you have a couple of big curves that precede the big hills, have enough speed built up to do it all.

Now, I must say that we got interested in this because our car - a 1990 BMW 535i - has a needle beneath the speedometer that hovers over miles per gallon - from 10-45 - depending on your acceleration. Of course, when coasting, it's off the chart.

But you don't need the gauge to know that your coasting is saving you gas - and giving you a new perspective on life.

Don't hurry. Be happy. And, by all means, coast.