It has been a year or two since I last undertook a long drive. I did it again this past weekend, and for a good cause.

With the airplane down for its annual maintenance for one more week, and grandparents itchy to see the brat, we decided we better take the long drive down to WIndsor. Yeah, I know, poor Frank. But after sitting at home for the last few months (no longer going daily to the office), sitting in a car for four hours just to get to the same place we’ve flown to in one, well, offends.

After the first hour on the road, the sense of offense weakened and the sort of cyborg attentiveness needed to drive safely took its place. With driving pushed to a lower level of mental activity, the leftovers contemplated policy. Policy, like what speed to choose? The weather/road conditions were perfect, traffic was light, so the putative legal speed limits were more absurd than usual. And yet, the fact of unpredictable police enforcement is at the back of the mind, gnawing away at the sense of comfort.

But need it gnaw? A risk/reward assessment might be formulated. Risks: a ticket (fine + demerit points); a possible increase in crash hazard. Rewards: time saved; a possible ego boost (car makers often push this angle in their ads). Many people are at least slightly terrified of run-ins with government authorities, so hesitate to ponder how bad a ticket actually would be. If they did, they might find that for those who can afford the possible financial penalties (fines, increase of insurance premiums), there is little to fear at the first or second infraction. The theory: highway speeders tend to be wealthier than average.

In any case, it is a testament to our complex economy that we can cheaply and easily carry out such a trip. No permissions, no appointments, no urgency, no fixed plans. This degree of casual mobility is matched in only few spots around the planet. This day, it let us visit the grandfolks, and stop by a park on the way back to (almost) pet some swans.