Another Crushing Concern to Add to Your List
We have 9 more days of school here in sunny San Antonio. 9 more days of stumbling, bleary eyed, into the kitchen at 5:30 in the morning, as my two dogs continue to snore because they think it’s too darn early to get up – even for food. 9 more days of saying two pledges (to the United States and to Texas). 9 more days of wolfing down lunch in 30 minutes or less. 9 more days of trying to think of creative ways to find out from my daughter exactly what went on during the 8 hours she spent in the care of someone other than me.
9 more days of School Zones.
And one particular School Zone that I hope to never have to drive in again after those 9 more days. I like to call it The Tool Zone. Because that’s my rather strong opinion about the cop who lords it over that specific stretch of road.
Currently, I work at two schools. And I often have to drive between them during the day. I have no problem with the School Zones that actually encompass each school.
The Tool Zone, though, covers a portion of my trip during which there is no school in sight. There is a car wash and a convenience store. And a church. The church does not have a school.
As far as I can tell there is nothing educational going on at the car wash or the convenience store either.
The School Zone sign in this location comes upon you suddenly. It’s not one of those smart signs that flashes lights at you to warn you that there are kids actually about to dart into the road any moment. It’s a quiet little sign with hours posted.
It’s also about 50 feet from a stop light. So, even if I see the sign, and slow down to 20 miles an hour even though there is not one school, MUCH LESS ONE PERSON, in sight, I inevitably forget that I’m in the Tool Zone as soon as I stop at the red light.
Because I am listening to life-altering news on NPR, or I am singing with Adam Levine about a pay phone, or doing some other Very Important Mind-Consuming Activity.
And, as soon as that light turns green, and I gun it to a whole 35 mph, that’s when Officer Tool turns on his lights.
He has actually only pulled me over once in the last 13 years. And was not impressed when I mentioned that I was a teacher, a public servant like him.
“You should know what a School Zone is, then.”
It did not matter that it was 8:30 in the morning, and all of the students in the schools in this vicinity had been in class for an hour already, and therefore I was not endangering anyone’s life – especially at 35 mph. It did not matter that I have already been to Defensive Driving three times in my life and the thought of trying to make it through another one of these classes – even the Comedy Class – makes me want to find an Amish community that will accept my heathen, Jedi Knight, soul so I will never have to drive again.
In the interest of condensing this story, let’s just say that he gave me a ticket, but he didn’t show up in court. So, it was dismissed. And the Amish cheered.
Ever since then, I have been paranoid when I drive through the Tool Zone. But not paranoid enough, half the time, to remember to slow down my car. I leave my school promising myself that I will not get distracted, chanting, “20,20,20,20…” and then I forget. It would probably help if you switched off the radio, you are thinking. But, you would be wrong. Because my bored brain starts making up foolish things that make my concentration even worse.
Next year, I will be teaching at a school closer to my house. So close that I can walk. As fast as I want.
9 more days of driving in the Tool Zone. Can I make it to the end without another ticket?
10 more days until you find out.