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Tuesday, April 12, 2011


When I was about 10 a little girl in the rural town I lived in was hit by a car and died.  She was out playing in her yard and a ventured too close to the road and her life, and her family's life, was changed forever in an instant.  It haunted me.  I am terrified of this with my own kids and hyper vigilant when they are near the road.

I drive too fast.  I confess.  People who drive the speed limit frustrate me and I am always at least 5 miles (or more) over.  In my very biased opinion I don't think I am generally unsafe but whose to say that with the constant distractions, snack handling, dj-ing and refereeing I do in the car (I no longer text unless I'm stopped I will have you know) that I could stop at a moment's notice if a small child were to accidentally make contact with the pavement?

Really my speeding is a symptom of a bigger issue. Namely that I rush around. This is not just because I strive to be punctual (my mother was/is chronically late) but because I like the excitement of hurrying.  As ridiculous as that sounds, it's true. It is not as much fun to go the speed limit, to arrive 10 minutes early instead of just under the gun. I love the feeling of accomplishment (much to Sandi's dismay- this is a point of contention between us) of squeezing the impossible in to a small window of time.  I have friends (you know who you are) who are like this too so I know is not entirely pathological, but it does require some deeper digging into why I would risk an ulcer for a little thrill.  Plus, rushing makes me a teensy bit grouchy and shouldn't be done when it involves others, especially small children.

This morning on the way to school I was trying to avoid the school bus that I could see at the end of my road. I quickly reversed and went the back way down a road parallel to the Main Rd. where the school bus was picking up its cargo.  As I sped over a small hill on the Old County Rd. (the very road I run on and shake my fist at speeding cars) two things happened.  First, I caught a glimpse of Ella's school friend standing at the end of her driveway with her dad waiting for the bus.  Second, I saw the cop. 

I slammed on my breaks and pulled right over.  I was humbled with guilt.   As the cop made his way around, lights flashing, all I could imagine was Ella's friend getting too close to the road as I crested the hill.  The cop came to my window, I handed over my stuff and all but begged him to ticket me.

I got my first speeding ticket of my life.  I was going 12 miles over the speed limit.  As I sat there, seeing my future as a reformed speeder, I watched the kids be picked up by the school bus and I was so ashamed.  I had a car full of kids and here I was speeding a potential death trap down the road. 

I couldn't stop thinking of that little girl that was hit when I was growing up.  I wanted to thank the police man for saving me from my own recklessness, lest a tragedy like that ever occur in my life.

Maybe called the cop "purple man" because he had iridescent purple lensed sunglasses.  Skyler and Ella were complaining about how long it was taking him and wanted me to drive so they wouldn't be late (future hurriers?).  I told them that what I had done was wrong, that I had broken the rules and that the cop was right (and we would wait for him or have my ass hauled to jail...but I didn't say that.) 

I drove away with my $119 ticket thinking that might be money very well spent.

Then I dropped all the kids off, late now despite my desperate need to hurry there in the first place, and went for my mid-week 8 mile run.  For the first time in my life, I ran 8 miles all in the 9 minute/mile range (on hills with a strong head wind!). 

I guess you can call me speedy today.  Except you can't because I'm not going to speed anymore (unless it is on the highway).

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