Guest Commentary

Confessions of a speeder: Some of us are just built to speed better

I got a speeding ticket the other day. Over near Ina and Thornydale roads, a motorcycle cop the size of a buffalo--who simply refused to recognize both the uniqueness of my worldview and the fact that I had to pee--nailed my ass.

This guy, all 8 feet 10 of him, kept insisting that by going 55 in a 40 mph zone, I was driving in an unsafe manner. I beg to differ. While this may be true of some people, it isn't of me. I've been speeding for a long time, and I'm damned good at it. The last time I got caught was 15 years ago.

There are a few reasons for this. Primarily, my father was a cop and gave me some helpful hints. He told me that cops looking to write speeding tickets rarely vary their locations. They find places in which they're likely to catch offenders and go there every day. Your average copper wants to get his ticket-writing finished and move on to more interesting things, like reporting stolen lawnmowers or getting vomited on by drunks. They call their chosen spots "cherry patches," and they're even territorial about them. If one cop pinches another's spot, he gets really mad. I'm very good at recognizing these spots and curtailing my behavior accordingly.

Secondly, spending an entire day sitting in an intersection waiting for idiots and people with unique worldviews and urgent bodily demands to go by is damned boring. Seconds turn into minutes, which turn into hours that seem to last three weeks, and even the most zealous law-enforcement officer tends to zone out. However, there are certain vehicles that inevitably get a cop's attention. These include sports cars; anything driven by a male under the age of 25 (a male under 25 behind the wheel of a sports car should not even bother leaving the driveway); pickup trucks driven by males under 30 or blondes with big hair and Hooters bumper stickers; anything with tires bigger than they ought to be; anything lowered and driven by Mexicans; anything with a sticker price of more than $20K driven by a black guy; and last but not least, anything red.

Statistically, red cars get into more accidents than any other color, and people who choose red cars are more likely to speed. But I have never owned a red car; for years, I drove a blue car. People who choose blue cars--especially blue, four-cylinder, 1987 clapped-out Volvo station wagons--are statistically the least likely to get pulled over for speeding. A bored cop sitting in a cherry patch sees something like my old Volvo, and he doesn't even put his Krispy Kreme down. He's already got it in his head that 1) people who drive Volvos are safety conscious; b) a four-cylinder car doesn't go very fast; and c) a car that old and shitty isn't capable of speeding anyway. With that car, I might as well have been in a stealth bomber. Nobody saw me, ever, and if they did, they didn't care.

I'm also very good at tucking myself just behind somebody who's going a little bit faster than I am, and thus more likely to get caught. That way, should I get stopped, it's possible to argue I was just going with the flow of traffic. Again, being successful at this strategy depends a lot on driving as bland a car as possible, something like a Toyota Camry or a Ford Escort. Tucking yourself behind a Porsche Turbo Carerra or a brand new shiny Lincoln Navigator is best of all. Cops don't make much money, and they love making people who make more than them miserable.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not advocating speeding. It's just that to my way of thinking, in any large group of human beings, there are some real smart ones, some real average ones and some real dumb ones. Speed limits, like public schools, are mostly designed for the dumbest, most slow-witted, most spasmoid individuals in society. They shouldn't be going any faster than 40 miles an hour. It's dangerous.

People like me however ... we're just a little quicker, a little more efficient.

And at 10:30 in the morning--with two jumbo sized cups of coffee sloshing around inside--dammit, we gotta pee.