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The Law of Averages Meets the Law of the Land

Friday, March 24th, 2006


- Unknown

I’m in a controlled rage when I’m driving home. I admit it, I drive fast and weave in and out of slow-moving, cell-phone chatting, oblivious-old-people drivers from work to I-95 and after 3 years, I have every trick in the book mapped to deal with the widespread retardation that is I-95.

But like most people, I know that I am a superior driver. I have a heightened sense of physics to gauge the direction, momentum, and intended vectors of each idiot that clogs my path. Together with common sense, I normally prevail and safely maneuver through the moron parade and leave them to duh their way home behind me.

I have been in exactly one wreck in my adult life and by all accounts (mine, Carrie’s, and the other driver), it was not my fault. The guy suddenly pulled out in the middle of the road, couldn’t decide to move forward or back, and froze. I was going downhill on a wet Seattle road going the speed limit but the wet pavement and lack of reaction time afforded me meant that I slid forward and t-boned him going about 20 MPH. It put a good reminder in his truck and my little Nissan Sentra only lost a turn light and had a little bumper damage. When he settled, I bought a bookcase with the money.

Anyway, today I’m doing my normal safe/speedy routine when I come up to the not uncommon shit-pack clogging up the large-intestine that is I-95. You know the one, about a dozen idiots globbed together, blocking all lanes while there is open road to the horizon in front of them.

I’m the caboose in this imbecile train waiting for an opportunity when all the sudden, the right lane opens up when some retard with a “Git-R-Dun” sticker cuts off someone in the number 2 lane for no apparent reason.

I dash over to the right lane and accelerate past the constipation, looking forward to the sweet experience of open road. The only other person in my way was Granny Oldsmobile with the entire collection of every Beanie Baby made in the last decade clogging up her rear window.

If I punch it, I can get in front of the bubble, pass on the left of Granny, and have my choice of the #2 and #3 lanes open to infinity. Man, was this gonna be sweet.

And it was, until I saw a cop with blaring blue lights coming up behind me in the center lane going about 100 MPH.

Maybe there is an accident ahead, God, please let there be an accident, come on….”

I put my blinker on and get into the right lane and to my dismay, the cop swerves over (still going pretty damn fast which is why I thought he was on his way to a real emergency) and gets behind me.


I pull over and hear the drumming of the grated shoulder. I come to a stop and reach for my wallet. For some reason I still don’t know, I unbuckled my seatbelt but caught myself and buckled it again, thinking I just screwed myself because he’ll think it was off and I was trying to get it back on.

When I went to roll down the window, I accidentally bumped the windshield wiper which was no where near the window control.

I really was not freaked out so I don’t know why all this was happening.

The officer walks up to my open window and says,

Good afternoon, Sir.”

Hmm, seemed polite enough. And kind of young but was dressed to the hilt of a state trooper with smokey and all.

Good afternoon, Sir.”

Is there a reason you were driving like that?” was his next question but he said it in a way that was almost conversational.

I didn’t think it was the time nor place to say,

“Because I am a sociopathic driver and for three years I’ve been dealing with the fucked up population of hicks, housewives in grocery-getters, political tail-waggers, and government bloodsuckers who are either pontificating on their cell phones and/or finding it necessary to leave 20 car lengths between them and the next cellphone jabbering ass-stain who is doing the same, all the while wondering why the traffic is so backed up every day of their miserable lives. For a few more months, officer, I have to deal with Spotsyltucky and all the requisite retardation at which time I will happily speed out of your overpopulated, under-developed crap-pile of a state and never look back. Ever.”

Instead, I looked at him and simply said “I just wanted to get home, Sir.”

“Where do you live?”

“Fredericksburg, Sir.”

“Are you still active duty?”

I never handed him my military ID so with the Marine Corps sticker, the haircut, and the green T-shirt, he must have made the connection.

“Yes Sir.”

“Do you have your registration?”

I fumbled through the glove box and he had to help me pick out which of the half dozen papers were my registration papers since Virginia requires you to have state, county, city, neighborhood, lot, and bathroom location documentation and inspection flotsom.

“OK, I’ll be right back.”

The way the conversation went, I just knew I wasn’t going to get a ticket. I really wasn’t nervous, upset, or all that annoyed that he had pulled me over. I had a strange calm about it and although I knew he had me dead to rights, I could just FEEL he wasn’t gonna nail me.

I saw him coming back in my side mirror without a ticket. He just had my license and registration.

OK, I’m gonna let you go with a warning today but try to keep the speed down and the driving under control.”

Thank you Officer.”

… don’t say anything else. Don’t try to thank him again. Don’t tell him how much you appreciate it or how it was your anniversary tomorrow and how you wanted to stop by the mall and get a card and a gift….

Just go.

That’s exactly what I did.

In the end, I think my honesty was what helped me. Oh, not the rant that I feel most of the time that always stays either in my head or on my blog but the explanation that I just wanted to get home. I didn’t try to talk him out of giving me a ticket. I offered no lame excuse, I just told him how it was and waited for the ticket. He had me dead to rights and let me go.

In San Diego, I know there will be frustrations but I’ve driven there on business and it’s not nearly as bad, believe it or not. Plus, I plan to live near the base so there will be no commute on a clogged Interstate every mind-numbing day.

So, OK, I guess I can keep my rage under control for a couple of more months before I move and in the end, isn’t that what the real purpose is for being pulled over? The monetary fine would have been just a little extra sting.

Free Advice for Today: “Wonder.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

12 Comments - Join in the conversation below

  1. Did the state trooper have on shorts? Because that would’ve rocked.

    I realized last night that Brian’s Virginia State Registration expired. Now if you recall back to this summer when I didn’t even know what a registration was, you can now imagine my horror when trying to figure out how the hell I’m going to get this problem fixed.

    Comment by Killjoy — March 29, 2006 @ 11:35 am

  2. Hmmm. . .That reminds me of the time I got stopped by an MP on Camp Pendleton as a young PFC going home from drill (USMCR) in Feburary 1991. The Sgt who stopped me let me go w/o a ticket. He said I’m the only one all day to keep my bearing!

    Comment by Fulton — March 29, 2006 @ 2:57 pm

  3. I have been blessed with a complete dislike for cops. Well, OK, I have been blessed with a complete dislike for ANY authority at all. This attitude of mine has gotten me in trouble on more than one occasion. My karma however is in full swing. Please note before I start: I hate all authority which includes; cops, teachers, officers, government officials, government flunkies, IRS, and anybody who has the right to say “no” to my reasonable and not-so-reasonable requests.
    My karma: My Sister, three aunts, and two of my grandparents were teachers. My wife’s father was a chief of police before he died, here brother is a cop, and several of her family members are cops. I respect without reservation approximately 10 people on the entire planet, and the first seven on my list are officers. . .OH Yes!! Karma has my number big time.
    All this being said, I would say that I have a pretty good feeling of where your comming from with regard to your driving ability. Keeping your rage under control is about the only thing you can do with those types.
    The sad part is that of the ones I know personally, cops and other persons in authority are just doing their jobs, and would probably rather be home with their families too. (I don’t count IRS people in this, they are bacteria and probably don’t have families)
    ((end of rant))

    Comment by Ray Young — March 29, 2006 @ 3:25 pm

  4. Killjoy, don’t you ever watch Reno 911? Gawd.

    No, he didn’t have shorts like Lt. Dangle but if you got pulled over by him, your charms would not have got you out of a ticket.

    About the registration, gee, this seems like a great time to have a power of attorney. Oh, wait, never mind.

    Comment by Administrator — March 29, 2006 @ 8:51 pm

  5. Fulton, when I drive my truck, I NEVER even get pulled over on base. That’s the advantage of having a license plate that reads “PVT2CPT”.

    Comment by Administrator — March 29, 2006 @ 8:52 pm

  6. Ray, stand by for a comment from one of my readers, Chris. It should be coming soon.

    Comment by Administrator — March 29, 2006 @ 8:53 pm

  7. Sounds like more of my Karma is going to kick in. Probably serves me right.

    Comment by Ray Young — March 29, 2006 @ 11:03 pm

  8. >That’s the advantage of having a license plate that reads “PVT2CPT”.

    So is it going to change when you pick up Major?

    Comment by Fulton — March 30, 2006 @ 12:39 pm

  9. Not trying to administer the truth serum here, but I thought from some other thing I’d read in your blog that you got frustrated with driving your first few days at Quantico(?) and then somebody gave you tickets, and told you how to take the train, which you then embraced as the panacea for all transportational ills. Did I have that wrong? I’ve found it IMPOSSIBLE not to hate your (okay, my) fellow human beings while driving, so I figured you had just lucked and weren’t having to deal with this anymore. Few people if any know how to drive/use road space efficiently and with cell phones now, it’s impossible even to figure out people’s driving rythyms anymore. Except to know that they’re gonna be stupid. Like the old Mark Twain saying about learning how to ride a bike, if you start to veer off course, a dog automatically knows how to get underfoot. Except that now it’s cars :-)

    Comment by Lily — March 30, 2006 @ 6:25 pm

  10. Fulton, yes, I will have to change and I can get rid of the damn Army version of “Captain” (CPT). I didn’t have enough room to go with the Marine Corps version (CAPT).

    PVT2MAJ will fit just fine but the name “Major Grose” has a certain humorous ring.

    Comment by Administrator — April 2, 2006 @ 8:12 pm

  11. Lily, yes, you had it right. When I first got here, I got caught in some crazy traffic jams and looked to the train for salvation. But the trade off was commute time and trasportation independence.

    But on the train, you have to deal with the endless stupidity of the public up close. I decided that driving in and at least having SOME semblence of personal space was better than dealing with train idiocy.

    Plus, if I take off JUST a bit early, I get on the leading edge of the rush and ride that wave, keeping just ahead of the stupidity tsumani all the way home. It really is a difference of 10 minutes or I get caught up.

    Comment by Administrator — April 2, 2006 @ 8:17 pm

  12. Apropos of nothing in particular but bad traffic in Seattle, which you fortunately are missing, yesterday was just hellacious in that regard.

    Around 3 pm I finally heard back from my accountant that she had my/our taxes ready to go. OK. That qualifies as an urgent something. Jumped in the car and sped across town — basically Burien to Sand Point Way, near the U. District. Could have been a 20-25 minute drive, with a 5 minute errand — pick them up from her, hop back in the car and do a return trip. That time of day though is always dicey. Would have preferred to do it much earlier in the day, but no such luck — that was when I heard from her. As you remember, Seattle is basically just one N-S highway, I-5. And the traffic around UW is obscene. The thing was a total parking lot, as always, across from Hec Edmundson pavillion, and then I-5 was just as bad. TWO FRICKIN’ HOURS to do a five minute errand. It was BEYOND annoying. So remember that when you think about moving back here :-) I’ll give up my space in traffic b/c I’ll be gone shortly, but seriously, this is a royal pain. And everyone’s blocking you in their SUVs so you can’t even see WHAT the holdup is, and of course it’s always nothing different than just MOS. Ack to the max…

    Comment by Lily — April 12, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

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