The day could have been so much worse than it was. Actually it was a pretty good day! But it could have been a crummy day...if I had gotten that ticket.
Every city has one--a road that says 30 mph but where everyone wants to go faster because the very nature of the road invites you to. The road is wide, uncrowded, open, long, made for driving......well, faster. I was driving that street, as I do almost every day, since it's how I get home in Sandy, Utah. My mind was elsewhere, thinking about a million other things, planning what to make for dinner, planning out the next day, weighing the importance of one activity against another, wondering if I will have a job by the end of this month. My speed crept up, unbeknownst to me, to about 20 miles over the speed limit. I was in my driving trance.
I noticed a quick flash out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and saw an on-coming car. Wait, did that car just flash its headlights? Why, I believe it did. I don't see that too often here in the city. As a matter of fact, hardly ever.
When I lived in Floyd, Virginia, I saw it all the time. The shortest way from Floyd to Christiansburg is Rt. 8, a 30-mile stretch of country highway, with a speed limit of 55 mph. Since Floyd is such a tiny place (it boasts all of one stoplight), one finds many occasions to go to the larger town of Christiansburg! It is a beautiful stretch of road, with hills and trees and views that are breathtaking. After all, it is right on the border of the Blue Ridge Mountains. While there are many places where one needs to go much slower than 55 because of the sharp turns, the blind entrances, and the steep uphill climbs, not to mention some sheer drop-offs, there are other places where 55 mph is just really tough to abide by. I often found myself flying down the road at speeds that were closer to common freeway speeds on I-15.
My Virginia Stomping Grounds
Of course, it was a favorite lurking place for the County Sheriff's men. They had such clever places to hide. A favorite place for them was right at the bottom of a hill that was hidden until you passed them, almost always over the speed limit. Of course they weren't always there, so you just had to know that maybe, they would be waiting. But country folk look out for one another. Just as it is so common for people to raise a friendly hand in greeting as they pass each other in opposite directions on the road, so it is also the practice to warn your fellow southern citizen that the Fuzz is on the prowl! You can almost be certain that if someone knows that the cops are in the vicinity, you will get a warning flash from your oncoming friend! I can't even count the number of times I was saved from a sure write-up because of the friendly flash of an oncoming car's headlights!
But this time, it was the neighborly flash of a car from my city neighborhood. It was surprising, really. Nevertheless it came at a welcome time, because sitting on the side of the road as I rounded the bend at the crest of the hill, was a cop. He had his speed gun out, ready to sock it to me. But he didn't get me that day, thanks to the flash of some headlights from an unknown neighbor.
While that incident made me very grateful and happy, heck it saved me at least $80, it also created a bittersweet memory of the life I once lived in the hills of Virginia, where cops have it hard because everyone warns their neighbors and where they greet one another with raised hands as they pass on the road.
5 years ago