Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fast, Fast, Fast

I have a lead foot. I like to drive fast. I always have, and I probably always will. I really wanted to race cars when I was a teenager, but I never managed to talk my parents into it. I have gotten a lot better about it since I've had the kids, and I really try not to do it when they are in the car with me. But every once in a while, that foot just gets too heavy.

When I was a teenager, I didn't have my own car. I had to borrow Mom or Dad's car, and I always preferred to borrow Dad's. Mom drove the minivan, but Dad drove the T-bird. Champagne colored, V-8 under the hood, and it could fly. I think the fastest I ever went in it was about 145mph. When you got over about 100 in that car, it was almost like it would shift into another gear. Like there was a secret gear only used for racing. Don't tell my Dad. :) I worked down the main street from my parent's house a few miles. Early enough in the morning, and there was no one on that street. And the lights were all programmed to stay green. You get where I am going with this, right? I once raced a cop, in a marked car no less, down Los Angeles Avenue. It was a sweet car.

In college, my parents traded in my land yacht (a story for another day) for a Ford Escort. Smaller, more gas efficient, and only a 4 cylinder. Not that it mattered much. I could make it from my apartment to Tom's in San Diego in an hour and 30 minutes. It was 120 miles. You do the math. I wasn't driving the speed limit. I did get pulled into the secondary inspection station at the border check once, but that was just to get hit on by the CHP officer, not to get a ticket.

I didn't need a radar detector back then. I could read the cars on the freeway perfectly. I could spot a cop from over a mile away, and I never once got pulled over. Not once. I played with a few CHP officers in my day. There was one once that kept trying to get me. He'd chase me down, only to find me driving the speed limit, go around me, hit the other side of the freeway, catch me again. Of course, by then I was going the speed limit. I had it down to a science. My only traffic ticket ever was for rolling through a stop sign. But, I did a California stop, that is supposed to be good enough, right???

Once I had kids, I had to slow down. It's fun to drive fast, but not terribly safe. I was never a crazy fast driver, never weaved in and out of traffic. But once I had kids, I slowed down. And over time I lost my abilities to track the cops. Too distracted by the little people I suppose.

I've been pulled over twice here in Colorado, both times for speeding, and both times with a car full of kids. I'm not going ridiculously fast, but I'm going fast enough to get their attention. Part of it is that the speed limits here are higher than in California. Here I'm only going 13 miles over the speed limit if I'm doing 88, it would be a lot worse in California.

I got to meet my second State Trooper last weekend, on the way to the airport. I was running late, and driving faster than I was supposed to. My years of experience kicked in with spotting the cop, but too late. As soon as I saw him about a mile and a half behind me, I moved over to the right lane and slowed down to the speed limit. But he had me flagged on radar already, and it was no use. Red and blue lights.

"Mommy, why are we stopping?" I hear from the backseat. Well, because I was going too fast and the police don't like that. "Why were you going too fast, Mommy?" Well....that one is harder to explain. I told the kids to sit still and be quiet. They were all a little taken back by the fact that I was in trouble and got caught doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing.

I did manage to talk myself out of getting a ticket. It's the second time I've managed to do that. I still have a clean record when it comes to speeding tickets. Maybe it's the car full of kids. Maybe it's my charm and sincere apologies. I don't know why, but it works. I should learn. You'd think I would know better by now.

But sometimes it's just too hard to resist. That wide open road. It calls my name. Doesn't help that I've created a kid just like me. Ally is a speed demon too, and I succumb too easily to her pleas. She'll sit in the back of the car and beg me to go fast, fast, fast.

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