the nonexistent speeding ticket

it’s 6:15pm and i’m driving down the interstate at a speed much faster than the posted recommendation. of course it’s not really a recommendation marc but you’re running late for a show! that’s right, i’m suppose to be on stage performing at 6:30pm and here it is 6:15pm and i’m not even at the venue yet! at this rate if i’m lucky i MIGHT be there with 10 minutes to spare for setup. i’ve never been late to a show before. will this be the first?

so i’m weaving in and out of traffic, like i’m going for a new high score in the video game frogger, when all the sudden my rear view mirror is overwhelmed with red & blue. uh oh. it’s the police! well so much for having 10 minutes to setup, which already is a third my normal allotted time for setting up. (actually, if i had my way there would always be 2 hours setup before a show for all those little details that nobody can pinpoint but make the live show so great!)

the officer walks up to my car with his blinding flashlight, while i feebly try to stick my hands out the window showing that no weapons are in store for his arrival. he asks me for my license and registration, a very common ice breaker among police officers, while i notice his thick southern accent and bushy mustache. this is a big old boy, state trooper none the less, who i quickly assume isn’t in the mood to mess around. so i’m digging through my various insurance papers while, almost unconsciously, rambling away along the lines of “i didn’t mean to be speeding officer. i play the violin and i’m running late for a concert. and i’m never late for concerts. although this may be the first time. but oh well. it’s my fault after all. here’s my registration.”

and you know what he says? “do me a favor and drive more carefully. have a good night.”

so if you’re of the female persuasion, you may be bored with this story. something along the lines of “that happens to me all the time,” right? well as a male let me tell you, it never happens. i have nothing within view to sexually flaunt at officers and playing innocent just doesn’t seem to work with the presence of that Y chromosome. none the less, i thank the officer and drive off with 5 minutes less for setup but i get to the venue and manage to somehow unload and setup in record time, starting my performance at 6:30pm on the dot. then something strange happens. later that night when i get in my car i’m very careful with my speed. and then the next day too. a week later and i’m still careful. we all watch our speed after getting a ticket but how long does that last? a few minutes? a few days? i have a theory…

the gratitude i felt from what appeared to be a hardened southern state trooper [insert many southern state trooper cliches] just because he let me off the hook when i uttered the words “i play the violin and i’m running late for a concert.” this is what has kept me aware. because every time i see a speed limit i don’t think “i should go this speed because it is dangerous to go faster and it is the law and i might get in trouble if i don’t obey the law…” but instead i think of this guy. this guy who surpassed all the cliches and let me go.

thank you. for your gratitude is stronger than any law you can lay; any financial distress you can put upon my shoulders.