I've broken the law, and that's not all. I was caught. Duly busted by the Texas Department of Public Safety Officer 09486. It's been thirty years since I last had a ticket, so this was unfamiliar territory for me.
I freely admit I do drive faster than the speed limit; however, I am a very safe driver and I usually only go 5- 6 miles an hour too fast.
Saturday, though, Teenaged Daughter and I were driving back from a family reunion. It was just the two of us since Mr. Tejano had to work. She sat in the middle seat, headphones on, watching a movie on the DVD player and looked like she had fallen asleep. I hummed along to myself and worked on getting my lines down pat for the Passion Play I was in that evening. Time was of the essence to get there and in costume and makeup on schedule.
The terrain was hilly. A deluge of 18 wheelers, working the history- making oil boom in this area, dominated both lanes of traffic. Some zipped past dangerously fast on the two lane, shoulderless highway, while others crept along, blocking the flow like plaque in a diseased artery. They are difficult to get around even in the best of situations, and finding an area to pass not governed by the solid yellow stripe AND with no oncoming traffic was treacherous.
Finally, after four or five miles of following one truck at a scooter's pace, all the while getting pinged by the rocks his back tires were spewing at me, I had an opportunity to get around, although I'd have to move quickly. The six or seven trucks behind us were also antsy.
The speed limit was 75, and we were going 60, thanks to Mr. I Couldn't Care Less About Anyone Else Behind Me. I put my left blinker on, sped up, moved around him, signaled right, and settled back into the lane. I was just enjoying the relief of being around him when I saw lights at the top of a black and white car flashing in the oncoming lane at me. I pulled over and the parade procession of trucks slowly lumbered past us, my hard earned spot in the lead already a faded memory.
Officer 09486 did a u-turn and parked behind me. I watched in my rear view mirror as he stumbled getting out of his car and inadvertently hit his siren button, startling him just as much as it did me. He straightened his felt cowboy hat and adjusted his mirrored glasses before he reached my car. He tapped his way down the body of my car until he reached my open window.
"U.S. citizen?" he asked sternly.
"Yes," I offered meekly, handing him my license.
"I'm stopping you for speeding. You were going 90 in a 75," he scolded.
My mouth must have dropped open a little because he nodded vigorously to punctuate his statement.
I explained I didn't think I was going that fast, but that I was trying to get around the truck I'd been following for miles before other oncoming trucks filled the opposite lane again.
The only reaction I could read was my own, reflected in his glasses.
After questioning me about where I was headed, where I'd been, and what I did for a living, he issued me the citation.
"And ma'am, have a wonderful day!" he barked in his monotone as he walked back to his car.
I pulled back onto the highway and continued on my way. He headed the other direction. Teenaged Daughter awoke from her nap in the back, rubbed her eyes and took off the headphones.
"Gosh, Mom, this drive is always so long and boring, " she noted with a yawn and stretch.