Need for speed

89 mphIt may come as something of a surprise to some of you, but I have only been driving for around a year now. This time last year I was, rather embarrassingly, frantically working on getting my drivers license so that I would be mobile when I came out here to Texas. It makes sense that since most of my driving time has been spent here in the US that I have started driving like a Texan. The long straight roads and flat expansive spaces lend themselves to high speed. So, it’s not uncommon for people to be doing 10 miles per hour over the speed limit: 80 in a 70 zone, 70 in a 60 zone etc. This is the story about the time I got caught…

We’d just made a failed attempt at going to the movies. The movie Stephen wanted to see was Spiderman 3, on the iMax. Unfortunately, since it was opening night, they were all, of course, all sold out. It was around midnight on Saturday night and I was making my way back home to Rockwall. It was dark and not much traffic on the road. I sped up to a comfortable speed going down the bridge.

Then, I saw him: a truck on the side of the road, lights off, seemingly innocuous. I slowed down as I passed, my eyes fixed on the rearview mirror. I kept checking the spot behind me as I drove, I couldn’t see him anymore, just blackness. All of a sudden, his headlights blazed into life. Icy fingers of shock raced up my chest and gripped me by the throat. Was that for me? Was this a cop?

“No, it couldn’t be” Stephen assured me when I voiced my fears. I dropped down to a more somber pace anyway as I completed my journey. Some inconsiderate person pulled up behind me with his high-beam lights on, bastard. I was still edgy about the prospect of being caught for speeding though. “You know,” I said uncertainly as I flipped the mirror to cut down on the glare “that could be a cop.”
“Well, just don’t indicate” Stephen suggested.
“What?” I asked incredulously.
“Well, you’re not required to indicate when taking an off-ramp”

So I took his advice and took the off-ramp without indicating. The guy behind me followed. I was starting to feel really nervous about this. I indicated to turn onto the service road and then it hit me. Red & blue lights flashed behind me, my blood ran cold giving me goose bumps.

I pulled over to the side of the road and waited for him to come over. I am told most Americans will argue over a speeding ticket, or they will try contest it in court. I just accepted it as fait accompli. I wound down my window as he approached. His bright lights were still glaring in my eyes.

“Good evening, sir”
“Good evening officer” I would have grinned if I was not so nervous. This guy was young, and not too bad in his uniform either.
“License please”
“Yes sir” I handed it over, it pays to be polite in Texas, especially with the state troopers.
“Insurance please” in Texas it’s an offense to be driving without insurance, because Americans have no state insurance. I opened the glove compartment.
“I have it here, I am sure I do” I handed him a piece of paper.
“This one expired the beginning of this year”
Oh crap.
My hands shook as I rifled through the glove compartment, I found another piece of paper. “Here it is”
I pay the insurance agency monthly and although my contract is for a full year, they specify that the policy expires monthly (so that I don’t just stop paying them). Nice one.

“So, any emergency tonight?” he asked as he looked over the paperwork.
“No, sir” I said dejectedly. No getting out of this one.
“You been drinking”
“No sir” I said emphatically. I was decidedly not in the mood.
“Where have you come from?”
“Uh…” I drew a blank
“We went to the movies” Stephen piped up.
“Spiderman, it was sold out” I shrugged.

He went back to his police truck (it really was a truck, some troopers drive trucks here in Texas) and did some tinkering. He came back a minute later.
“The speed limit on the bridge is 60 at night time, sir, please be more careful next time.”
“Yes sir, officer” I said in my most contrite voice.

With that, he left.

It looks like he was only really interested in catching drunk drivers. I am amazed that he had the self-control to stalk me for two miles over the bridge before eventually stopping me. Talk about your anti-climax. I was really starting to like him. 🙂
Want to know more about my driving. I posted a video of me on my way to work here.