First I must apologize, Hitchhikers! You’ve been standing out by the side of the road for well over a month, and not a single soul has been willing to pull over and offer you a lift. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to stop. I have. It’s just that I was going way too fast to safely pull over without endangering both our lives.
Speaking of speeding. I got a speeding ticket. Which is crazy for those of you who know me, or totes cra cra for those of you who know my niece. I don’t speed. I used to. In my 20s. Quite a lot. Although I have always maintained a pristine driving record. Not so anymore. Friends and family (including my own father!) tease me about driving like a grandma (although with his recent record of driving events – Germany, Wyoming – I don’t think he has a whole lot of room to say much about other people’s road skills). I’m just not in the hurry I once thought I was. That, and I have a tendency to haul precious cargo with me.
So, there I was driving down the road to Raleigh, when I realized I was driving down the road. And the laws of gravity and physics were combining forces to increase my speed. So I removed my foot from the accelerator and coasted until I was comfortably under the posted speed limit by one m.p.h. I traveled merrily along this way for about a mile, when I happened to glance in my rearview mirror to see blue lights flashing. I panicked and checked my speedometer. It was fine. That meant I must be getting pulled over for distracted driving. No, I wasn’t texting while driving… geez, you guys are so quick to think the worst of me. I *might* have been checking Facebook [For the record, I try very hard to remain focused on the road whenever I drive and not get distracted by my phone or iPod, or GPS, or radio, but then again, I try very hard to remain focused on lots of things and it’s an uphill battle; if it makes anyone feel better, the road was pretty well deserted and wide open in a straight stretch.]. Either way, that wasn’t the issue, and is totally not the most relevant part of the story. He pulled me over for that tenth of a mile when my speed crept up on me. $218. $20 of it for speeding. $188 for court fees. Which I apparently must pay even if I don’t go to court. Go figure.
But that’s not all. Upon my return from Tampa last weekend, I passed a line of at least nine, and quite possibly as many as 14 (I was part way through the line of them when I started counting), white 15-passenger vans. And one red one. You know the type. Child molester specials. In fact, I think it might have been the Abductors Across America Annual Tour. There were no markings on the vans. I tried to get a picture with my iPhone, but it was dark outside and I accidentally had the flash on, which I think probably clued the kidnappers in to what I was doing because they sped up and tried to lose me. And plus it’s really hard to take a picture and drive at the same time. So this is all I got:
Since I didn’t get a good picture of them, I’ll just settle for a warning to you all to be on the lookout for the Abductors Across America caraVAN as they tour through your cities and towns. Don’t be fooled by the one red van driving with them. He’s probably just trying to stand out above all the other kidnappers and child molesters to gain your trust and acceptance.
And speaking of child molesters and kidnappers, my friend’s parents recently took out an ad on Craig’s List that I imagine read something like this:
Hi, we are looking for someone to share a ride with our daughter and rape her for two or three days before leaving her body on the side of the road and stealing her car. She is young and impressionable, so we think it should probably be someone in their late 30s to their mid-50s… strong enough to overpower her, and still young enough to catch her if she tries to run off and phone authorities. Sex offenders ideal. Serial killers and sociopaths are also acceptable. Please contact us if you are the right person for the job.
I’m not sure if that’s exactly how the post read, but it’s probably something similar. Why, you ask? That’s a great question. It seems in her parents’ minds… her driving alone for 14 1/2 hours is far riskier than sharing a ride with a complete stranger who answers an ad on Craig’s List. Am I alone in thinking that’s crazy?