Sometimes, when I’m driving along and it’s a quiet shift, I think about the cool things that could happen.
Someone could crash their horse and buggy into a creek and I could jump in and save them.
Or maybe a troop of Boy Scouts could get attacked, en masse, by a horde of garter snakes. I could whip out my handy-dandy duty knife, slice said Boy Scouts open and suck out the snake poison, thus saving their lives while nearly dying doing it.
Ah, the hero.
Sometimes those fantasies are just a weeeeeeee bit more mundane.
Maybe a DUI will happen right in front of me. Maybe someone will toss out their McDonald’s bag right in front of me.
Or maybe a red car will come up behind me and tail me for the better part of five miles. Maybe I’ll watch it in the rearview, wondering why his headlights are getting larger…smaller…larger…smaller. Wondering why his headlights are dancing left…right…left…right.
I got excited ’cause both of those are the telltale signs of a DUI. Been a while since I had one so this was going to end a fabulous day on an even more fabulous note.
(a fabulous note for me…’cause really, a DUI ain’t fabulous for the driver. Not even close.)
(see…I have an odd job…when I’m having a good day then someone else is having, by definition, a really REALLY shitty day)
So I’m watching this red car in my rearview and talking to my rider and what the hell happens?
Yeah, he passes me.
I’m sorry, let me back up a little bit.
He passes me…while my cruise is set at 55 miles per honking hour.
In a 55 zone.
For a second, I was too stunned to even react. Passing me while I did exactly the speed limit? Surely no one is that stupid?
See, I’ve got no problem if I’m traveling below the limit and you want to pass. Totally legal and totally cool with me. But if there is no room between how fast I’m going and the top of the limit?
Well, then, that’s just stupid, int’nit?
Welcome to the world of a stupid kid.
To his credit, he did realize he was passing a cop.
Just as he got about halfway through the pass. I’m guessing he looked up finally, and saw all the purty badges and stars and giant SHERIFF’S POLICE lettering reflected in the soft glow of his blue-white headlights.
His car’s front end dug down deep into the asphalt as he suddenly tried to stop. As he suddenly tried to get back behind me.
Problem was, he was already out there, baby. Already flying – going commando – in the opposite lane.
And knew I’d seen him. Or assumed it.
Dumbass hesitated. Cars are coming toward him and he was running next to me like we’re racing. About 736 hours later, he finally committed and completed the pass. Sort of like making a pass at your best friend’s girl. Once you’ve started, the intent of the deed is already done. Gotta keep going. No way you can take that back
Plus, I’d already lit him up. Soon as he’d gotten halfway through his particular version of dropping trou, I banged on my lights.
And he instantly jammed on his brakes.
Dude…. Really? Go around a cop, get back in front of him, and brake immediately?
So we get stopped and me and my rider go up to the window.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“What are you doing?”
“Uh…going to work.”
And he finally looked up at me and into my flashlight.
Hah! Busted! DUI! Eyes glassy and bloodshot and I was dancing a little jig. Right there on the side of the road, dancing the DUI jig.
Okay, not really ’cause that would have looked bad. Would have looked like I was gloating over someone’s misfortune.
Turns out he worked at Wal-Mart (should have arrested him then and there for servicing Satan, but everybody’s gotta work…if you can dig it)
Also turns out he wasn’t drunk, just a dumbass kid.
“Why’d you pass me?”
“Why did you pass me? I was going 55. This is a 55 zone.”
“Uh…I was going 52 behind you.”
“And how fast did you have to go to get around me?”
His answers sort of petered out after that.
But his texting never did. Phone sitting right on the passenger seat, within easy reach.
Hmmmm…texing on a dark night, maybe? Texting while heading to work in the belly of Satan, perhaps?
Texting up until that very scary moment when you bothered to look up and realize that car next to you wasn’t just a white sedan, but the poh-poh?
So maybe, just maybe, if all that happened, and he was a decent kid, I’d let him go with a warning not to be quite so stupid in the future, though I probably wouldn’t say it quite like that.
If all that happened.
And if it did, I’d finish up, then see about that thing with the horse and buggy in the creek.