May 12, 2005

Do you have the need for speed?

I love to speed. There. I said it. I do try to limit my big ole lead foot to highways since I don’t condone zipping through neighborhoods - little kids darting in and out terrify me. I live in a suburb that is on the outer reaches of the Kansas City metro area and I have always commuted to Kansas City, MO for my various jobs over the years. Therefore, I always have ample opportunities to get the speeding bug out of my system. I haven’t had a speeding ticket since 1996; I have done pretty well over the years, I would say. So, on Saturday, as I was headed to Kansas City, MO for a museum outing with my sister, I saw a state trooper ahead on the side of road. As I was congratulating myself OUT LOUD* to my sister for having slowed down well before reaching him, I noticed with a sinking stomach that the flashing lights were in MY rearview mirror. Ouch. And I quickly realized my current proof of insurance was safely ensconced in my file cabinet at home – not in my glove box. Double ouch. The trooper mentions that I was doing 76 in a 60 – he did say, in my own defense, that the speed limit had just dropped (keep in mind this is a 3 lane interstate highway and I certainly wasn’t going any faster than the other cars). I played the Innocent to his Tormentor and replied “Really? Was I going that fast?”. He took his sweet time in his car, all the while I got to sit with my sister calculating the cost of that ticket and impending insurance hike. To her credit, my sister, the Miss Goody 2 Shoes of Driving, did not heckle me.

So, Mr. Trooper comes back to the car. He noted the address and said “You live in XYZ Subdivision, right? Well, I just live one street over from you.”. Gulp. “I’m just going to give you a warning this time.** Be careful in the future.” HUH? The only thing I can think of is that he thought I was some suburban yuppie venturing into the city for a Saturday jaunt – of course he couldn’t have known that I drive that highway EVERY DAY and have done so for the past NINE years. Could it be that my very yuppiness saved my law-breaking ass??

Now, in my history, the only warnings I have ever received from law enforcement were in the small town where I went to high school. The cops there PREFERRED the kids to stay in town, as opposed to going to Kansas City where we were more likely to get into trouble with the Big City Kids. As long as our indiscretions were minor (tires squealing, loitering around Pond Parties), they tended to let us go with a warning. Yes, I have watched many a wine cooler get emptied by a cop, but really they were pretty good guys just looking out for us.

Sooooo, I slowly pulled out into traffic after having received my warning. The adrenaline rush was still coursing through my veins, but I kept my speedometer in check (all you Lead Footers out there KNOW the irresistible pull of adrenaline. Admit it). Anyway, I figure I can go the speed limit for at least a week – maybe two. Then I can relax and let my lead foot do the driving again, right?

*I believe the actual quote was “Am I good or what?”. Groan
** I do need to show proof of insurance at the local courthouse, though. Of course, that is only fair.

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