My Weekend of Firsts
• FIRST NO. 1: A SPEEDING TICKET
I have been driving for 23 years. I have never gotten a speeding ticket, a minor but not inconsiderable source of pride. I'm not a candyass on the road, but I'm not a maniac, either. What you get from me as a fellow driver is alertness, consideration, and sweet, sweet moderation. I go with traffic.
That last technique has never let me down. Until Friday. I was driving with my family up 16th Street NW. We were on our way to celebrate my train-obsessed oldest child's fourth birthday with a visit to the railroad heaven of Strasburg, Pa.
I take full responsibility for causing the officer holding a radar gun, standing in the middle of the road, to dodge the Metrobus blowing past me at far greater speed to whistle and motion me into a parking lot, where I was issued a ticket for going 36 miles per hour in a 25 zone.
I do not dispute the facts of this ticket, nor do I blame the police, to whose fraternal order I will continue to donate $25 every year, even if the sticker they send me as a result didn't work as whispered. I blame myself, but I do think this is a lame way to get my first ever speeding ticket.
• FIRST NO. 2: ROAD RAGE DIRECTED AT CYCLISTS
A cyclist myself, I am very sensitive to the need to share the road (and yes, I am aware of the cognitive disconnect necessary to blaze through the city at 36 mph despite this philosophical bent). However.
Crossing the street in the railroad heaven of Strasburg, Pa., on Saturday, takes a long time. Walk signals are not lighted until traffic in all directions in the town's main intersection is halted. As I was crossing the street, my 11-month-old strapped to my chest, a cyclist on a supremely ugly yellow carbon fiber bicycle shouted "Heads up, heads up!" as he tried to blow through the red light that was giving us our walk sign and, by extension, my family. I said "Hey, we have a walk sign," and he grunted and sailed through the intersection. I shouted "And you have a red light!" at his rapidly disappearing form.
Ever since, I've been angry at cyclists. I mean, here I am week in and out, posting about some road outrage or another, and then I nearly get mowed down by a member of my tribe, albeit one clad in yellow spandex that matched his horrendously ugly plastic bicycle. For the rest of the weekend, I fantasized about road rage.
Photo by Flickr user frankh