This morning, I was pulled over by a cop, who said he had caught me driving at 51 mph in a 35 mph zone. Trying to get out of a ticket, I replied that there was another car driving right next to me, implying “why did you pick me?” To that, he said, “That was when you picked up speed. The other car saw me.” As I was making an excuse in my last-ditch attempt to avoid a ticket by saying, “I was trying to ‘get around’ that car,” I recalled my last speeding ticket received on Thanksgiving Eve of 2010. That previous cop, after pulling me over, quipped, “Didn’t you see me? I was driving right next to you. Everyone else saw me. At least show some respect!” As I understand, people speak their minds when they are joking. So I assured him sincerely, “I’m not crazy, officer. I honestly didn’t see you.” Of course, not seeing him was no excuse for not respecting him from his standpoint (or in his logic).
Call me crazy, but these two back-to-back (though with some time apart) speeding tickets leave me suspecting that I have had to pay fines and waste hours and hours that I don’t have on traffic school not because I broke a traffic regulation, but because the cops felt I didn’t respect them. While there were potentially hundreds of homicides, rapes, assults, robberies, burglaries going on in Chicago at those very moments, these two brave men in uniform were driving around ambushing unsuspecting speeding but safe motorists who paid their salaries and pensions. I guess that’s human nature: If I were a talentless loser in a position of power after receiving a mere six months of training, my fragile ego would demand some respect from some random people whom I suspect could look down their noses at me.
The validity of speed limit laws aside, I actually think I, and many others, have been punished for not paying enough attention to police cars while driving. I thus suggest adding to the traffic school material the advice of watching for patrolling and parked police cars. It may well be the single most useful lesson in the entire five hours of online brain-numbing gibberish.
Drive safe, my friends!