Our exercise on The Write Practice (see link at right) today was to tell about an adventure we had while traveling, focusing on one particular scene during the trip. So here’s a small part of our adventure when I went with my daughter to Mississippi for a Teachers’ Prep Class. Hope it gives you a smile.
(Hope I don’t get a very belated ticket in the mail. ☺ What’s the US Statute of Limitations for driving offenses?)
Back in ‘95 our daughter wanted to go to a week-long workshop for teachers — the event being held in Mississippi, no less — and she didn’t want to drive all that way alone, so I accompanied her and did most of the driving. We were living in Quebec at this time, so had two long days on the road, entering the US at Detroit and heading more or less straight south on Interstates.
The second day found us somewhere in Kentucky on a nice four-lane highway and I was behind the wheel when we came up behind a line of about six cars, every one of them in the right lane, doing almost 50 mph. I found this curious, as the speed limit was 55 mph and the left lane was completely empty. I craned my neck and peered ahead as best I could, expecting to see some extra-wide vehicle causing this slower traffic. Nada. Just a line of ordinary-looking cars.
Now I was really curious. Had the speed limit changed and I hadn’t noticed the sign? Last thing on earth I wanted to do was get nailed for speeding in the States. I’d read some pretty awful accounts… Right then we passed a sign: 55 mph. So why is everyone doing below 50?
As the road went round a curve I got a better look at the lead car. A police cruiser. Aha! He was cruising along at a lower speed and the drivers behind were all meekly following, no one daring to challenge his authority. I joined the line and took it easy on the gas for another mile.
Would it surprise you if I mentioned here that I can be a rebel at times? As I passed another 55 mph sign, I asked myself, Am I going to poke along at 50 mph for an hour in deference to the whims of those officers? Will they arrest me if I don’t? Have they got any reason to stop me for driving at the speed limit?
Nope. At least I sure hope not! So I pulled into the left lane, sped up to 55 mph, and slowly overtook the police car, making very sure I wasn’t speeding. If I was indeed committing some other social faux pas, I trusted my Quebec license plate would tell him I didn’t know any better.
They say about sheep that when one sticks his head through the fence, the others will surely follow. People are much the same. When I was some distance ahead of the cruiser (one eye glued to the speedometer the whole way!) I saw in my rear-view mirror that others had pulled out and were also passing the cruiser. I suppose they’d been anxious to see if I’d get into trouble and when I didn’t, they decided they could get away with it, too.
Now I can say I led a mini-coup — a social rebellion of sorts — in a foreign land. I can just imagine those policemen sitting at the doughnut shop later and chuckling about it, just as I am now.
What would you have done?