Sunny Saturday afternoon, driving with Barb, cruising along a wide open, well paved two lane road. Foot edging down on the gas peddle, watching out for traffic but not paying much attention to the speedometer. Taking a curve as tires squeal a bit, and Barb warns of a cop on the shoulder. Slow down while passing the black and white, but a glance in the rearview mirror a moment later shows red and blue lights flashing. Pull over to the side of the road, lower the windows, kill the engine.
I've been drivin' all night...
my hand wet on the wheel.
"Why were you speeding?"
"I wasn't paying attention, I am very sorry."
"You were doing 50 in a 35. Been stopped here before?"
"License and insurance cards please."
"Here they are."
"This your address?"
"No sir, we just sold our house, I haven't changed the license yet."
He is in his cruiser for a very long time. Barb says he must be writing a ticket. Deep breathing, staying calm, but thinking about all the inconvenience. Court date? Lawyers fees? Fine? A Saturday morning in driver re-education school? It has been years, but have experienced each of those. Not surprising with the hundreds of thousands of miles accumulated commuting every day.
He walks back slowly, holding something in his left hand in addition to license and insurance card. Prepare for the bad news.
"You a doctor?"
"About 30 miles from here."
"You get either the ticket or the speech. Today is your lucky day. You get the speech. There are lots of deer around here, running across the road. You're not careful, you'll hit one. And that won't be your luck day. The deer will win. That's why the speed limit is what it is. From now on stick to it. No second chances."
"Here are your ID's back. And in case you were wondering, this is paperwork I have to fill out with every traffic stop to show that I am not doing any racial or other profiling."
"Thank you and have a good day, Officer."
Sticking to the speed limit now, especially on local roads. Drivers behind get aggravated, get edgy. But taking it slow. Glad that middle aged, well-dressed, white docs tooling around in a yuppie car in an upscale Chicago 'burb, don't get profiled. Otherwise it might be Saturday school...or worse.
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