Monday, May 17, 2010
Roger and the Speed Trap
(My mom's old Pulsar)
Roger’s forlorn and ragged condition had at least one redeeming feature or at least on one day when my mom was traveling from Greensboro to Raleigh to visit her mom. The trip, sometime in the mid 80s, and my mom still had her red Nissan Pulsar which she eventually traded in the late 80s for a red Nissan 240SX. Back then, I-40 ended in Greensboro so the trip taken then was on I-85 to Durham where one would have to take US-70 which would take the traveler straight to Raleigh. The trip at the time was well over an hour and a half. First, I-85 was 2 lanes in both directions, but now it is 3 or 4 depending on where you are. Second, it didn’t take many slow drivers going in the left lane to clog traffic. The whole concept of “Slower Traffic Keep Right Except to Pass” meant nothing to NC drivers who often felt that as long as they payed their taxes, they could drive in any damn lane they wanted and as slow as they felt. A third reason the trip was slower back then was that US-70 was dotted with red lights. Lots and lots of red lights. However now that I-40 has been extended from Greensboro, through Raleigh and on to Wilmington, the Greensboro-Raleigh trip is just over an hour. And yes, the increased speed limits helps a whole lot too.
My mom was on Glenwood Ave almost near Crabtree Valley Mall which meant her trip was almost over. Something to note about Glenwood Ave. near the mall is the steepness of the hill especially for an area close to the coastal plains. A car in neutral can roll down this hill, a hill which has an 8% grade, and reach speeds well over 60mph. This wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that the speed limit is 45 in that stretch. That area is a notorious speed trap.
It was in this stretch where the crux of this story takes place. My mom and her lead foot were going well over 60 by her own admission. At the bottom of the hill, she saw a cop behind her about a quarter of a mile weaving in and out of traffic making his way towards her. My mom not only didn’t slow down, but she almost made a clean break. Before she was able to make it to the Beltline, the cop finally caught her and pulled her over.
“Ma’am, do you know how fast you were going?” the cop asked. My mom said no. “65” he replied. My mom feigned ignorance and surprise “Really, that fast?” At this stage, my mom was in trouble. It wasn’t until the officer looked inside my mom’s car and saw Roger floundering in the front seat that my mom’s fortune would change.
The car, whose AC had broken, was sweltering in the summer heat. On top of that, an almost hairless Roger panting heavily in the front seat must have brought sympathy and pity from the officer.
The officer said “Ma’am, most people slow down when they see a cop behind them, but you just kept going.” My mom responded “it was too late then to do anything.” The officer laughed and while looking at Roger said “Mam, I’m going to let you go so you can get your dog inside. He’s having a rough time out here. Please slow down.”
And that was how Roger got my mom out of a speeding ticket.