I was cited for speeding this week. Pulled over on the shoulder, red and blue lights flashing, rain coming in my rolled-down window, drops falling from the brim of the officer’s hat, leafing through the glove box to dig out registration and proof of insurance, I couldn’t even manage to be upset. I was speeding. I knew it. The cars I had passed knew it. And, for sure, the radar gun with its big flashing red numbers knew it. So, when the officer asked if I was aware of the speed limit on the road, and did I know how fast I was going? I said, “yes,” and “too fast.”

I didn’t tell the officer I had a meeting, or that I’ve driven that road hundreds of time, or that my speedometer isn’t super accurate. Instead I apologized, said I’d try to be more conscious, and that I’d work on slowing it down. Then I warned him to be careful and watch his head on my car’s roof racks as he reached over to hand me a ticket. He missed cracking his skull by less than 1/2 an inch, but as he startled and stood back-up, his hat brim caught on the bar-end sending a stream of water down his neck. For a minute he wriggled and danced at the cold, no longer a police officer, no longer an authority, just a young guy with icy rain running down his spine. When it was over, he smiled, didn’t even try to pick back up the image, just sent me on my way. I smiled back, thankful he hadn’t decided to cite me for endangering a police officer. I really should put warning tape on those racks.

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