I am pathologically compliant. I obey the law, play by the rules and follow instructions.
So you can imagine my shock yesterday morning when Central Casting sent their most type-cast North Carolina State Trooper to make me feel bad about myself.
Let me back up a bit. I was driving home after a long week On the Road. If you’ve been following my adventures (very un-Kerouac, I assure you), then you know I’ve been enjoying alone time in the car, listening to songs alphabetically on my iPod. I am up to the F’s. It was a sunny spring morning and I was singing along with Jackson Browne’s “For a Dancer” when I noticed a twinkle behind me. I pulled over.
“Ma’am, I clocked you going sixty-nine in a fifty-five,” the trooper said. I said nothing.
He took my license and registration and, when he returned from his cruiser, handed me a Uniform Citation and said, “This shows I caught you going seventy in a fifty-five mile-per-hour zone.” I thought to myself, 70 in a 55 sounds serious.
I responded, “You said I was going sixty-nine.”
“I was confused,” he said. “The last person I pulled over was going sixty-nine. You were going seventy.” That’s fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit. He acceded that the speed limit on that road switches back and forth from 55 to 60, but it happened to be 55 where he stopped me. He said, “I suggest you appear in court.”
I asked once again why he wrote the citation for 70 mph when he initially told me I was going 69.
He essentially said, “I’ll see you in court” and walked away.
I sat there staring at the “Defendant Copy” of the citation. I have never been a defendant. I’ve never even seen the inside of a court room. Suddenly I felt ashamed. My compliance streak was busted and so was I.
So I got back on the road, stayed in the right lane, and went exactly the speed limit the rest of the way home. For 200 miles, one aggressive driver after another tried to run me off the road. Where were all the troopers in North Carolina and Virginia then and why was no one nabbing the speed demons who were on my tail? Automotive sodomy must be legal in those states.
I’ll be travelling by air next week and will be happy to be out of the car for a while. Now if I can just stay alert during the boarding announcements (see Word Nymph April 12).
Note: Just a reminder that Sunday is a no-blog day for the Word Nymph. This week she’ll be curled up reading the North Carolina traffic code.