Thursday, August 19, 2010

shameless promotion (2.0), part viii

Editor's Note: In the continuing effort of this blog to promote its author's professional career, we present to you this week's column from the St. Clair Times. It was much to my chagrin when I discovered a nearly identical column — also written by me — that ran at almost this exact time last year. Possibly, I should retire soon.

Also, before the column, I saw this today and decided it was too good not to share.

Fantastic. And so, we roll on.
Life in the fast lane is either too fast or not fast enough

While driving to Tuscaloosa this past Sunday to hear my friend preach, I saw what has to be one of the more elaborate speed traps in recorded history.

(Important note: My roommates from college all became Methodist pastors. It didn’t take for me; go figure.)

Around the Mercedes plant (exit 89), I spied a pair of men dressed in black perched on the bridge that passes over the interstate. Initially mistaking them for a) potential suicide risks or b) really bored bird watchers, I realized they were, in fact, state patrolmen, and one of them was armed with a radar gun.

Passers-by didn’t have to waste much time figuring out their purpose — just beyond the bridge sat a cadre of trooper cars. I think I counted three on either side of the highway … and four others had various cars pulled over to the side and were in the process of writing tickets.

Even by my own crude math, that’s an astounding number of troopers poised to stop potential speeders.

Speed seems like a constant battle in today’s world. Each note about the progress of construction on Interstate 20 notes that a speed limit of 45 miles per hour is in effect through the construction zone (the signs say 55, but whatever). And troopers seem to be feasting on the area — drivers can’t go 50 feet without seeing those menacing blue lights, essentially daring drivers to test those limits.

It also seems to be the one topic that makes absolutely no one happy: either people complain that everyone drives too fast, or we complain that no one drives fast enough.

Seriously, attend any city council meeting in St. Clair County (or anywhere, really) with any regularity, and you’re almost guaranteed to hear at least one citizen complaint about speeding in the neighborhood.

Not that I can’t identify: drivers treat the main street in my neighborhood like the Autobahn, and it has three STOP signs, blind curve and multiple homes that house people and their children.

Of course, once officers start actually stopping people and trying to control speed, the level of vitriol goes to still another level. On multiple occasions we’ve had callers to our offices complain about receiving speeding tickets.

“What’s the speed limit on that road?” I asked once.

“35,” the angry person on the other end said.

“And how fast were you going?”

“… 50.”

Again, it’s not like I can’t identify: I’ve received traffic tickets twice in my life, and in both cases I was angry enough (and here I paraphrase my mother-in-law) to spit nickels. There was nobody else on the road, man; I wasn’t even going that fast.

But I paid the ticket and tried not to grumble too much. Can’t fault the man for doing his job.


kurtau22 said...

See....he's even got the players cussing. Devil Incarnate I tell you.

dbh said...

This comment approved by my 87-year-old grandmother and kindergarten teachers everywhere.

In a related story, our national championship trophy will be at the Bryant Museum this November if you want to come by and see it. Punk bitch.