Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Life in the slow lane

Alas, a mere week after my last hilariously funny blog on my first ticket, I received another one. Now, I truly understand my children’s oft-used expression: “The first time is funny; the second time is not.” Knowing bad luck runs in three, I sure hope I won’t hear myself saying the last line – “And the third time is just plain old.”

One thing I’ve learned from my rash of tickets is I should really read the road signs. My first ticket was an illegal right on red that I made on the way to work. I felt pretty outraged and picked on until the next day when I saw the three signs that the officer impatiently told me were there. He must have gone and put them up right after he pulled me over – I swear they weren’t there the day before!

Anyway, my latest (and hopefully my last) ticket was for speeding. I am so embarrassed. For those who read my last blog, you’ll recall that I said I “abhor” speeders. Nice, Leigh, real nice. So, it’s safe to say that I no longer feel quite as strongly in that area. Speed happens. I understand that now.

Ironically, I had just said that very morning that I was paranoid now since receiving my first ticket. It’s a rude awakening to know that you can no longer bat your eyelashes out of one (not that I’ve ever done such thing, mind you). But, Smokey got me, once again. It was near the airport on I-285. Did you know I-285 was a 55 mph zone? I had no idea. I thought it was 70, which is why I told him I was going 76. Did you know ignorance of the law is no excuse? Honestly, must I learn EVERYTHING the hard way?

He wrote me my ticket, politely ignored my sniffles, and sent me on my merry way. I made my way to work, paid for my first ticket online and received a jolt – tickets are expensive! And scary – I had to tell my husband.

His reply? “You know it’s going to happen again.”

Vowing to (please, God!) prove him wrong, I drove 55 mph to work the next day. I had a lot of time to think as cars whizzed past me. One of the things I concluded was the good Lord must be giving me a lesson in patience. I admittedly have very little, but in an effort to improve myself and avoid seeing blue lights in the rearview mirror, I drove all the way in the far right – not the left – lane.

At first, I was a little worried. Southerners are as polite as can be, until they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Then they turn into horn-blowing, tailgating, middle-finger-pointing monsters. Please don’t ask me how I know. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Folks ignored me, and I took deep breaths and tried to ignore them. I soon found myself with a private lane all the way to Atlanta. Well, me and the guy with the pick-up truck full cardboard.

I figured out it was all state of mind and music. No, more “I can’t drive 55.” I cranked up Frank Sinatra and cruised my way down the interstate. Amazingly, I made it there in about the same time. Of course, there’s always the ride home to worry about.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ain't Gonna Bump No More

Well, I ain't gonna bump no more. In a fit of friskiness, I bumped hips with my daughter. Immediately, I felt it.

“Ouch!” I screamed and held my hip.

Thinking I was pretending, she laughed, along with the rest of my family, and a few strangers who witnessed the odd sight outside the restaurant.

The next day when I was still leaning forward and limping around like an old lady, well … my family still laughed. Furthermore, when I told people who asked how I did it, they managed to look sympathetic for a minute and then they laughed as I kicked myself for not making up a better story.

But, now, it looks like I will have the last laugh. I, Meredith Leigh Knight, can now tell people – those very people who called me an old lady – that I have a football injury. It’s true. Hip pointer. Look it up. Instead of an invalid, I feel like I’m part of a sports team, an elite group of athletes. Not only is this injury common in football, it is also seen in those who practice martial arts, baseball, rugby, ice hockey and field hockey, according to the website I saw.

And, no, I did not diagnosis myself. I went to the doctor, a specialist, and I have to give him and his nurse credit. They both shook their heads, but neither one of them laughed, although the nurse said, “That must have been some bump!”

Hip pointers are usually caused by a direct hard hit (i.e. by a helmet), but, ironically, I barely touched her. Oops, digressing back to old lady here …

Fortunately, the doctor didn’t tease me about how it happened. He simply told me my options, which lucky for me involve no football, martial arts, baseball, rugby, ice hockey, field hockey or running. As I left the office with my anti-inflammatory prescription and physical therapy orders in hand, I glanced at my chart on the way out and found myself laughing out loud.

It read, “Patient hurt hip by doing 'the bump' with daughter.”

I came home and told her I ain't gonna do it no more.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

You mean, this is a ticket?

So, I got my first ticket today. No, I wasn't speeding. I abhor speeders. It was failure to follow a traffic control device. In other words, I took a right on red where I wasn't supposed to.

I'd been taking that exit to work for a year, yet somehow I had never noticed what the officer said were "two or three signs back there." Even scarier is the fact that I thought the light was green. I didn't tell him that.
It all happened so fast, too. I turned, my destination -- the building where I work a few days a week in downtown Atlanta -- in sight. Next thing I know blue lights, the fuzz, smokey was right behind me.

My first thought was, "I need to get out of his way, so he can go get whoever he is after."

Then my second thought was, "Oh, he's after me." OK, so I cleaned it up a little.

Then my third thought was, "Well, it must be a tail light or a brake light or something that I can blame my husband on."

But, no, it was moi. All moi.

Then I had to decide where to pull over. I couldn't block the exit ramp, so I cruised on a little farther. Smokey didn't like this very much. He turned on his siren. I held my finger up as if to say, "One minute, please."

I could tell by his face that he didn't have a minute.

Not wanting it to turn into some kind of slow speed white Bronco chase, my mind raced, "Should I run up on the sidewalk to get out of the street?"

Smokey's face told me, no, I should stop now and block the lane of traffic or else.

The officer marched to the truck and informed me of my crime. All I could think to say was, "I'm sorry!" before he grabbed my license and went back to his patrol car.

"Wait, I haven't had a chance to kill you with kindness!" I screamed (in my mind).

While I was waiting anxiously for his return, I thought about grabbing my phone and texting my friend, "I am being pulled over." Then it dawned on me that might not be the smartest idea with the new law in effect.

A lifetime later, he returned.

"I've written you a citation. Sign here."

'You mean, this is a ticket?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"But, I only drive up here a few days a week, and my building's in sight, and, and, and ..."

That's when I got the "Ma'am there are two or three signs back there" line.

I don't know what upset me the most, getting the ticket or not being considered cute enough to drive away with a warning.
"You mean, you didn't get out of the truck and shake your silky hair from side to side?" my friend teased. (That's a story for another day.)

But, alas, my warning days must be over. I took my yellow piece of paper and drove off, planning to never, ever, even if you honk, turn right on red again.