Friday, March 14, 2008

Someone Saved My Life To(day)

I got a speeding ticket today.

I had been entering a phone number into my contact list, and just as I put my iPhone down I glanced up and saw this cop looking to nail some dumb sucker with his radar gun. I slowed down just to be polite.

Next thing I know, my window is down and I’m saying, "Hello, officer. No, I didn't realize this was a 25 mile an hour zone. I think I must have thought it was a 35." (That's true, I did.) Later, I remember someone telling me this was a well known speed trap. It's a steep hill and you have to brake the whole way down to keep it at 25. I hate that. It feels like brake abuse.

At first, I "prayed" to the angels to enlighten the officer who stopped me. "Help him see I am not a threat to safety..." it began. "Help him change his mind."

Then I got this huge cosmic head smack that "arrested" my selfish prayer. I was indeed a danger to myself and other drivers. I had been texting all morning. On the freeway, winding through the Del Monte Forest, and now in a residential area. Furthermore, that morning I had eaten a burrito, drank a cup of coffee and a bottle of water. The only departure from my usual in-car routine was I had not put on my makeup or brushed my teeth. Well, not yet anyway. I was going to do that after I checked my email.

Instead of getting mad, another well-documented cause of bad driving, right up there with drunk driving and road fatigue, I showed remorse even going so far as to express gratitude to the officer. He could have saved my life, or yours, today just by intervening at that moment. The good and the bad walk hand in hand.

Several cars passed by as I was being written up. When the red Corvette went by going a painfully slow 24.7 mph I said, "You're welcome." My ticket-getting experience had obviously slowed him down, too.

I guess this means I get to go to traffic school (again). I think I'll do it online this time. Although it would be kind of amusing to attend a hotel conference room traffic school like I did 10 years ago, with a pack of 90 mph speed racers, and a few cell phone talking red light runners. That was the time the instructor went around the room asking us to admit our "crimes." This time mine would be an innocent "36 in a 25." Until, of course, the instructor reminded us all that statistically more people are killed or maimed in residential areas at low speed than on the freeway. Online it is!

My only other pressing decision is to decide what my new bumper sticker should read: "I go the speed limit. Go around me if you feel you must." or "I see you back there. I just don't care." or "I won't go faster just because YOU want me to. "

Nah, too whiney. Maybe I'll just stick with RonPaul2008.

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