Monday, November 30, 2009

First ever speeding ticket.

Thoughts on my recent trip:

My brother, his fiance and I road-tripped to Arizona to visit our extended family (happily, our immediate family, of which I am immensely fond, was also visiting our extended family at the same time).

We rented a 2009 Toyota Corolla and it was awesome! If nothing else, I am now reassured that I am not very spoiled when it comes to cars. Since the 1996 Intrepid that I normally drive is getting pretty decrepit, I feel like I spent a lot of time thinking things like "hey, the windshield wipers stop moving when I turn them off . . . splendid!" I have nothing but praise for the heat, the air conditioning, the hazard lights, the radio, the door locks, the windshield sprayers--it was pretty luxurious (all of those things are pretty flaky or completely non-functional on the Intrepid). The Intrepid also got me used to feeling like I was about to die when I got up to about 60 mph. In this car I felt safe at much higher speeds.

The cop said he had me going 92 mph in a 75 mph zone.

But it was hard to avoid! Normally, I'd just set the cruise control to 9 over the limit and go, but this car didn't have cruise control (weirdly). The visibility and road conditions were so good, I'd just start going and think "this feels like the right speed" and I'd look down and my speedometer would read 95 mph.

At one point, I was already going like 97 mph and I pushed it to 102 mph as an homage to my parents (this was a personal driving speed record for me).

(My parents took a roadtrip to Arizona before they started dating. Apparently my father tried to demonstrate to my mother that his car could travel 100 mph. It couldn't. The car broke down immediately and they were stranded in the desert for several hours.)

I found this great Honda minivan that was steadily speeding about the same amount as I meant to and I made him my pace-buddy (i.e. I followed him and let him determine our speed). I figured the cops couldn't catch us both for speeding. I never found out if the cops could catch us both for speeding because before we saw any cops, I decided that I had outgrown him and that we needed to part ways.

I may have been a little lonely (my car was quiet and my brother and his fiance were asleep) because passing my old pace-buddy was sad for me. I guess I hadn't realized how attached I was. If I had to pick a soundtrack, I'd pick "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Greenday for this part. It had been a great half-hour of highway driving, but like Icarus, I was giddy and over-confident.

Also, I didn't want him to think I had a crush on him.

The highway seemed a little more crowded as we approached Beaver, UT. I was going faster than almost everyone. I thought maybe I was just discovering that I was born with a gift for driving fast that others just don't have. I was never ashamed to be above-average in other regards, so I started to wonder if maybe it would be a shame--a waste even--for an exceptionally fast driver like me to slow down just to avoid attracting attention.

(I think the "gift" here might just be a lack of regard for the law, and an inadequate appreciation of one's own mortality, but anything that helps you get to your destination earlier is a gift in my book).

When I saw the cops pull out, my heart sank. I prayed that they weren't going to get me. I pulled into the right lane and slowed down a lot to act like I had been going a reasonable speed the whole time. They didn't fall for it.

They were nice enough, I guess. Normally, I resent the police a lot, but this interaction reminded me of the Looney Tunes Ralph and Sam. I think I may have even thanked them.

$165 is the fine. It doesn't seem bad until I think of $165 things that I would like to buy, but haven't because they're too expensive.