Roadtrip! Yesterday we decided on a last-minute getaway for a last hurrah before the drudgery of yet another school year sets in. My EC, and the two youngest FOMLs were good to go. The three oldest had things they wanted to do, or (heh heh) jobs. (I can't tell you how much I enjoyed typing that word: jobs.)
I will paint the picture using words, because I'm not about to paint the story and digitize it, and then post it. Mind you, it isn't because I couldn't, but words will suffice.
It is almost midnight. I am in full "Driving Dad" mode: Cruise control set at 9+ the speed limit, a 44oz beverage within easy grasp, snacks, and Switchfoot blaring on the stereo. Life is good. My EC is asleep in the passenger seat, one of the kids has headphones on, lost in Nintendo DS-land, the other is probably asleep - I haven't heard or seen him for at least an hour.
The freeway is almost empty. On the straightaway there are no cars ahead of me, or behind me that I can see. On the other side, I can only see one oncoming car. Yup. Well before we pass each other, the flashing lights come on. Grr!. Adrenaline kicks in, pulse elevates, curse-words are suppressed. The patrol car flashes his headlights at me - yeah, I know they were aimed at me, as I was the only car on the road. He immediately pulls toward the side of the freeway, looking for a place to cross the median so he can come get me and ruin my insurance rates. At this point my viewpoint changes from my windshield to my rearview mirror.
The patrol car heads down to cross the median and stops. Completely. With a big cloud of dust. Perhaps he forgot you should only cross at designated crossing areas? Hmm? From what I could tell, he couldn't get through.
Worried that he might be stuck, or injured, I doubled back to make sure he was okay. Yeah right! It didn't even cross my mind until right now.
I hit the gas, and watched to see if he was coming after me. I could see billows of dust and flashing lights as the patrol car returned to the freeway - his side of the freeway. Then he was out of sight. For the next few minutes I drove paranoid, watching through my mirrors to see if he would emerge like the t-rex in Jurrasic Park. He never did.
And the streak remains intact.
What streak, you may ask? The streak of 20 years without a speeding ticket. Yes, I am pretty proud of that, considering I like to drive fast, and I have been pulled over six - count 'em - SIX times. Each time the officer had me cold. Each time I drove away with either a written or a verbal warning. Ha!
How does that happen to a mere mortal? What is your secret? I would like to think that it is the aura of goodness that I radiate whenever I talk to people, of the wit and charm that flows so freely, or the disarming George Clooney-like good looks. Believe me, those things are nice to have, but they are not my most effective anti-ticketing weapon.
What is it then? Lean in closer, and I'll tell you...
Honesty. Honesty? That's it? Yup. It has always worked for me. Don't know that it always will, but so far, so good.
License, registration and proof of insurance please.
Here you go.
Do you know why I pulled you over?
I was speeding. (Not a question, a statement)
Do you know how fast you were going?
I was going 80 when I saw your lights.
Do you know what the speed limit is here?
(often at this point the officer begins to look confused)
Is this your wife? (Her frightened/concerned look is actually very helpful here)
Are these your kids?
Yes sir, all five of them.
Alright, I'm going to go back and check on your information...
Forever later, he comes back, hands me my stuff and says:
I've written you up with a warning this time.
That's a relief.
I appreciate your honesty. (3 times the officer has actually said those exact words)
Thank you so much.
Now slow down and be careful.
I will officer, and thanks again.
Ta-duh! Yeah, I know it shouldn't work, but it does for me.
Now, I am not going to discuss the morality/immorality of speeding. I will save that for another day. For now I will just relish in the fact that I am not sitting here trying to schedule traffic school.