I have a particular area of giftedness in determining the maximum safe speed for a given road, taking into consideration the weather, road conditions, posted legal limit, and freqency of law enforcement patrols. Therefore, the maxim that some quote as a joke is actually true for me: anyone going slower than me should speed up, and anyone going faster than me is a maniac.
Take, for example, my daily commute to work. For most of the way, the road is a narrow, winding, two-lane highway. The calculations work in this way:
Posted speed limit: 70 mph (+ 9)
Road conditions: no shoulder, frequent sharp turns, possibility of sudden
animal obstacles, limited long-range visibility. (-10)
Police Presence: rare (+ 10)
Conclusion: Safe driving speed for normal driving conditions is between 75-80 mph.
I share my highway with a black truck whose driver does not utilize the same thoughtful planning when it comes to driving speed. Every day he passes me like I am an overized combine. It doesn’t matter if the yellow line is solid or dotted, if we are on a curve or a bridge, or if the weather is inclement. This never fails to offend me. (And, regrettably, he will never be caught, because of aforementioned policing of said road.)
One recent morning, I had slowed down to the low end of the maximum safe speed for my highway, because it was foggy and raining. And I was passed by not only my arch nemesis, the truck, but by a minivan, as well! What I really want is to be given authority to make citizen’s arrests in such situations. (The option of making citizen’s arrests came up months ago in a heated game of Imaginiff and has fascinated me ever since). I would love to slap a temporary siren atop my SUV and chase down the irresponsible driver and deliver justice.
Instead, justice works in this way: one day I failed to slow down according to the posted speed limits as I entered the great population center of China Spring, and I got slapped with a ticket. I had to make a special trip to a very depressing temporary building/court in the middle of the sticks (I missed it on my first time past it on the road because it looked like a storage building belonging to the gas station next door). There, I found out that the county does not take checks, and so I had to make a special trip to my bank in Waco to get a cashier’s check, and then deliver it back to the court trailer.
Today I spent six tedious hours at Ryan’s Steakhouse for Defensive Driving. The idea that the six hours of instruction have any redemptive effect for the traffic violaters in attendance is a joke that we all play along with. We the convicted filled in the blanks of our booklets and watched video clips, and the little old lady who runs the whole operation enthusiastically delivered the information, and we all pretended that we were not just there for the certificate of completion at the end. This filled the requisite six hours only because Glenda announced at the beginning of class that she encouraged class members to share their personal driving stories as they became relevant to the topics that we were discussing.
And then, when my penance was finally complete, I sped home. Ha!