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Chasing The American Dream

August 13, 2007

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS

Have you ever noticed that there are certain things in life you’re either very lucky at or very unlucky at? If I had to think off the top of my head at this, I’d say in my life I’ve been unlucky at love and relationships, money, golf, and except for my current job, work. I’ve been lucky at very few things but important things nevertheless. I’ve been very lucky with Andy. I’m definitely imperfect, but I can’t complain about my health. Now on a much smaller scale, and the subject matter of this post, I’ve had this amazing run of luck avoiding tickets while driving.

Had. As in past tense.

Before February, I had an amazing streak of 30 years driving without getting a ticket. I think it was a unique combination of conservative driving, driving slow cars, and a good amount of luck. I could have easily gotten 10 speeding tickets in those 30 years but lucked out with warnings or simply someone else going faster than I was. There wasn’t much luck involved when my perfect streak came to an end. I had a senior moment and backed into a car.

Since the back-in, I’ve had a strange feeling that it wouldn’t take me another 30 years to get my next ticket. My driving formula has changed. I have a faster car, I drive faster and more aggressively. When you combine all that and my number one pet peeve, slow drivers in the left lane, it leads to trouble. Six weeks ago (I’ve been meaning to write about this), I was on my way to the airport to pick up my lost bag thanks to American Airlines. A few hours turned into four days so I was not a happy camper. The scene was this. I was in the left lane and the guy ahead of me was going slow. Then, he decided he was going to turn left across oncoming traffic into a shopping center. So he stops. What pissed me off was that there was a middle turn lane he was supposed to be using but for some reason, he ignored it. My blood pressure was rising by the second. I waited seemingly forever to get around him in the right lane. Once I did, I accelerated with a good amount of speed. I wasn’t speeding; heck, I was going zero to twenty. But up ahead, there was a cop standing in the street. There was some construction going on. So I slowed down. When I got close to him, he waved me into a parking lot. I figured it was some kind of checkpoint for alcohol or something.

But no. In his mind, I was going to run him over. He was arrogant and didn’t want to hear anything from me. It probably didn’t help that he was Latino and I wasn’t. Ticket. I was dumbfounded really. He cited me for an improper lane change. Lame change more like it. So there you go, 30 years without a ticket and then only four months for the next one.

Saturday, I had to make a 350-mile road trip (posts upcoming). I originally set my cruise for 79 and then adjusted it to 82 because I was following two cars setting a good pace for me. Once again, those same risk factors came into play. Faster car, faster driving, aggressive driving, and slow drivers in the left lane. This time, I got stuck behind a big line of cars in the left lane. Someone up there was driving slow and backing up highway traffic and making me lose patience. After about 10 minutes of going 65 in the left lane, I’d had it. I made a move to the right lane and accelerated past a bunch of cars and cut in behind a white van. Now if I could just get around the white van I was home free. But the van decides to slam on his breaks in the left lane with no one in front of him. Naturally, I slam on mind and nearly hit him. Right then, I learned why he slammed on his breaks. State trooper hiding in the median. Oh no.

I watched carefully in my rear view mirror for any signs of the trooper car stirring. Sure enough he was making a move. Just in case, I moved over to the right lane and drove slowly behind another van. I kept my eye on the trooper who now had his blue lights on and was coming up fast in the left lane. It looked like he was about to pass me and go after someone else when he swerved and got right in behind me. I knew I was screwed. This guy was no happy camper either. He read me the riot act about aggressive driving being against the law in the State of Florida and somehow clocked me going 98 in the right lane. In his mind (judgment once again), I passed a bunch of cars, pulled behind the white van, and gave him the high-beams to move over. Well yes officer, that’s what I did but I’d hardly call that illegal especially when you consider the van breaking because he was speeding until he saw you. I disputed his 98 reading saying I’d never driven 98 in my life. True, and I don’t know how a radar gun could be that far off because I was NOT going 98. 88 maybe which I could have believed. Like the other ticketing officer, he didn’t want to hear anything from me and while he did his paperwork writing up a $213 ticket, I sat in the car and wondered where all my luck went on the road.

Zero tickets in 30 years and now three tickets in six months. My luck’s gone and I’ve come to realize that tickets are just a cost of driving. I’m not going to argue with cops anymore. It’s fruitless. I’m just gonna accept the ticket and move on. I’m sure I’ll get another one before the year is over. I’m convinced of it. I’m not going to change my driving patterns any because it’s basically luck and officer judgment. I mean, in the blink of an eye, these guys make snap judgments of what they think they see and unlike an NFL football game, there is no replay to change the call. I sat in my car aggravated but when I thought of the reason I had to make this road trip, a ticket seemed very insignificant in the grand scheme of life. More on that soon…

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4 Comments:

  • ouch! hate to hear this. hopefully, you WON'T get another ticket this year.

    By Anonymous demure southern gal, at 11:57 PM, August 13, 2007  

  • Oy vey. Life can be such a pain sometimes! Be safe, and you are right, they are just tickets.

    But be safe!

    By Blogger California Girl, at 12:22 AM, August 15, 2007  

  • Hi Todd
    You know, one of the bad things about us Aquarians is that we are very impatient... Traffic provides a excellent demonstrations of that trait... I also have had 3 tickets since the begining of this year, my advice is: pay a lawyer to get you out of it.
    The other issue is that Saturn, the ruler of restrictions, lessons to be learned, authority (got the picture?) is in opposition to our darling Aquarius... It will be over soon, leaves in Sept 2... I'm counting the days...
    Take care

    By Blogger Heloisa, at 11:57 AM, August 16, 2007  

  • Heloisa, thannks for the insight. I wasn't aware of this!

    By Blogger Plantation, at 9:02 PM, August 17, 2007  

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