Warped Speed

I wrote this column around ten years ago, and you know what?  Slow drivers are still pretty annoying.

Warped Speed:
October 30, 2007

I consider myself an average driver: I drive around ten miles over the speed limit and get annoyed by senior citizens who drive ten miles under.  Occasionally I will look at my speedometer just to confirm what I believe: "Yep, that person really is old," I sometimes tell myself. "Maybe I'll get lucky and she'll get pulled over by the 'slow police.'"

Unfortunately, the "slow police" doesn't exist, at least not yet. However, the only thing stopping this unit from existing is the fact that police forces all across the country do not want to pull slow people over.  It's just not exciting. And it's particularly not brag-worthy to go home after a long day of traffic work to say, "You should have seen it, honey.  This old guy was driving 20 and I somehow caught up to him and told him how slow he was driving and he fell asleep trying to find his registration.  So I yelled at him and he woke up.  It was crazy, I could have been killed."

As it is now, without a "slow police," policemen have the thrill of a three-second high-speed chase that leads to the speedster being pulled over and then showing all relevant documents.  What makes this exciting to policemen is that the person in the car very well may be a celebrity, pregnant or both.  Even when that is not the case, there is still the chance that the driver is an idiot who will attempt to speed away when the cop walks back to his or her police car to check out the situation.  After all, if the car went ten miles over the speed limit just ten minutes prior, what is stopping the driver from going ten miles over the zero-mile-an-hour speed limit that was put into place when the car was pulled over?

Unfortunately for traffic cops, their jobs are being replaced by units on the sides of random streets that serve as giant speedometers.  I would give a more specific name for such a device, except I can not find one online and George Bush doesn't return my calls anymore.  We've all seen these things: a giant number is displaced on the board so that a driver can see his or her speed upon passing by it.  Some may think, "Well, this is a great idea.  This way those without speedometers don't need to worry.  They just have to restrict themselves to driving on these very particular streets."  And that's a fine thought, one that ranks right up there with melting pudding pops to create pudding.  The reality is that, in our action-packed, reality show-driven society, these giant speedometers are purely used for entertainment purposes.  Earlier today, upon passing one, I saw that the car in front of me was going 34 miles per hour, which led me to want to go 35. When the giant speedometer showed me the "35," I yelled out, "In your face, you car in front of me!" and now my day has been a good one...

Tomorrow I plan to pull over before I reach the giant speedometer so that I can run by it and see my speed.  This could be important if I ever get invited to go a formal event and some formal person comes up to me and says, "Any idea of your speed?"  I would be able to answer this question...

The day after tomorrow I plan to stand by this giant speedometer as cars drive by so that I can point to their speeds.  If they go over the speed limit, I will yell at them as if I am the guardian of speed.  To add to the effect, I will wear a badge with the words "Speed Guardian" on it.  If they can read my badge, that means they are driving too slowly.  However, that also means that their vision is good, so they must not be old. If such occurs, I'll have to retire as Speed Guardian until I do further research about speedometers...

But I digress.

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