The Cost of Speed

A real patriot is the fellow who gets a… ticket and rejoices that the system works. – Bill Vaughan

  •  I am a good girl.

  • I am responsible.

  • I believe in rules. Okay, it’s true, I do break rules when they don’t make any sense and it doesn’t hurt anyone.

  • I believe the police are officers of the law.

  • I believe jury duty is my civic duty.

  • I vote.  Even in, especially in local elections.

  • I play it safe.  I look left, then right, then left again.  I come to complete stops.  I watch for children in unexpected places.  I do not cut across parking lots.

  • I am a good citizen.

So why am I angry?
I got a ticket for speeding in a school zone at 8:30 in the morning.
I wasn’t there at 8:30 AM in the morning.  I swear.  I stepped out my door at 8:30.  I helped Duckie get in the car, get her wheelchair in, and load my bike on the car-carrier.  Impossible for me to be in the school zone at 8:30.
I was running late.  I did remind myself to watch for school buses. Duckie was talking a blue streak.
I saw the squad car in my rear-view mirror.  The speed-limit posted, right there where I was:  45 mph.
I was going 40 mph.
I humbly took the ticket without reading it.

Before speaking ask yourself three questions:

Is it true?

Is it kind?

Is it necessary?

– Buddha

I departed in silence.
I read the ticket:  “speeding 20 mph over posted active school zone.  Children unloading.”
There were no children unloading.  I swear.  I drive by the school all the time.  I believe the lights were off.  A car struck my own daughter when she was in junior high school.  I never want to be on the driver’s side of that kind of accident. Or even close.  I am careful in school zones.  I   have children and grandchildren.  I know the area. I know it was after 8 AM. I know there were no children in the school yard.  I was watching.
I decide to collect evidence.
Can I even get up to 40 mph from the traffic light where I stopped before I turned left and headed toward the school?  Yes, I can.
What are the conditions at 8:30 AM?  I staked-out the area.  At 8:30 AM there are so many buses and cars at that stretch of the road, I cannot drive over 20 mph if I want to.  It is too congested; stop and go, mostly stop.  At 8:40 a few cars, late arrivals, pull in and drop kids off at the door.  By 8:45 there are no buses, no cars, no children.  The officer pulls a car over at 8:48.  The light switches off at 8:50 AM. I document everything.
Are the caution lights turned on by timers?  Yes they are.  The lights go off at exactly 8:50 every school day.
The only piece of evidence I have to stand on is the time, manually written, and my word.
I plan to plead not-guilty on principle alone.  I know the truth.  I was not there at 8:30; no children were unloading.  Unless the officer chooses to stay away from court, I will be found guilty anyway.  I have no hard evidence.
I read the fine print.  If I plead guilty, I must go to trial.  If the judge or jury finds me guilty, I will be required to pay all of the court costs, plus any fine levied.
I know these things to be true:
  • I was not there at 8:30.

  • There were no children unloading.

  • BUT, was I there before 8:50?  I’m not sure.  Maybe.

I decide to plead guilty and pay the fine.

“It’s too bad there’s no opportunity to have your say or influence anything at all without the risk of additional penalty.”

 – Loved One

Today I join 12 other people who got a ticket for the exact thing I did.  In the exact place.  Three of us have a ticket for exactly 8:30.  All but one of us pleads guilty.  We are each fined $470.00.  One person says, “I’d rather put my money in the pocket of a lawyer.”  Part of me is happy I avoided additional court fees.  Part of me wishes I joined the rebellious one.  The one lawyer present looks suspiciously like Walt’s lawyer, Saul Goodman.
I consider “Breaking Bad” but:
  • I am a good girl.

  • I am responsible.

  • I am a good citizen. Still,

  • I am decidedly NOT a real patriot.

I pay the fine.


Tomorrow is a new day.

Nothing in the universe can stop you from letting go and starting over.

Guy Finley


I will let go and start over.


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