The state patrolman
I am not known to be a magnet for driving infractions, and this time I was not at all responsible. Friday afternoon, after completing all my assigned appointments in Oklahoma City, I took the turnpike east on my way home with plans for a big weekend with family and friends.
I have the habit of using cruise control while driving long distances, in case I start daydreaming and forget about my lead foot. This time it was not different, as I was cruising at about 5-6 miles over the speed limit along with three other vehicles and a very large truck.
Making a turn east of the turnpike toward Joplin, we all spotted a state trooper on the right side of the road, chatting with a motorist I thought had broken the law. We all moved to the fast lane to give him room enough to do what he does best, give tickets.
I had released the cruise control to allow me to slow down during this maneuver and after a few yards, stepped on the accelerator once again, re-engaged the cruise control and continued on my way changing back to the right side of the road.
I had not gone more than a few miles when, looking at my rear-view mirror, I spotted what I jokingly call a Christmas tree, the blue and red lights blinking, making sure the driver in front of the cruiser pays attention and stops at the edge of the road, which I did.
Since I knew I was not speeding, I wondered what the cause for the blinking lights was. Surely, I had not committed an infraction as far as I could remember. Then again, perhaps it was all the other infractions I had committed through the years when I was not caught.
A very young state trooper, looking around 12 years old, approached the car from the passenger side and ask for my driver’s license and registration, which I immediately handed him. He claimed I was speeding when I moved over to give him room while stopped with another driver. I assured him I use the cruise control because I trust the car more than I trust my lead foot, but he continued to argue with me.
As I was ready to slap him for lying, he assured me he was 110% sure of what he was saying; at that point I was infuriated because I also was 110% sure I was in the right. I then proceeded to let him know a 110% does not exist as the maximum number is 100%! Of course, my statement created another rush of harsh words from both of us. After a pause, and since I was an old lady, he would only give me a warning which would not register on my record. I thanked him profusely as I held my temper down, engaged the car once again and left him on the side of the road.
Many years later, I continue to think I was right, although I did not get ticketed. The warning the trooper gave me did not register in my brain because today I still use the cruise control whenever I have a long way to go and trust my car more than I trust my lead foot.
Weber, a former Cedar County Republican reporter, continues to contribute occasional columns.