Thursday, May 02, 2002

I have very recently joined the three-pointer club. Many years of driving and, I think, being a pretty good driver, have failed to keep me completely on the right side of the law. I wouldn't mind, but I'm generally a close observer of marked up speed limits as they're often the dictates of reason - built up areas, nearby schools or retirement homes; in short, areas where people are likely to be present and therefore vulnerable to fast moving traffic. But reader, where I was scored, there were none of those things. There weren't even any damn speed restriction signs facing the way I was going. (Later I saw a few haphazardly placed signs facing the other way, but I'm not in the usual habit of adjusting my driving habits on the strength of grey posts of indeterminate shape, colour and content.) I was tempted to point this out to the yellow-coated officer who waved me into the side of the road as if he were part Magnus Pike in mid gesticulation and part Pete Townsend in full manic windmill guitar strum. A sort arc-wheel, point arc-wheel point, with just a tad too much enthusiasm for my liking. But all the sensible, grown up stuff was uttered by him. Not me.

Boy was I pissed; though thankfully I wasn't pissed up. "Have you any idea what the speed limit is on this road?" "Apparently not you smug-fuck moron," I thought, before confessing "Aaaaaaa, naano!" in a pathetic attempt at sounding like a coherent law abiding model citizen. "That is the problem I'm afraid sir;" here he indicated a digital set of displayed figures reading 43. "This is a thirty miles per hour restricted road. And as you can see sir, you have broken it by some margin". The sir address didn't make me feel any better; I couldn't help feeling that if I were a real sir I'd have been sent on my way with a gushing apology and free tickets to the next policeman's ball. I got tickets all right, but they weren't dished out to enhance my social life. "It is my intention to deal with you by means of a Fixed Penalty Ticket". "Yep, right, okay, um the um… signs they, where are, don’t' seem to…, (eloquence was still a long way away from this temporary abode) " If sir would prefer I don't issue a ticket, I shall have to report you and we'll meet again in Court". "NO!" I spluttered in a rare lapse into lucidity. And probably a little too quickly. "The um the um, ticket will be fine".

The ticket was issued and instructions were given as to what to do with it (I needed no instructions as to what I would have liked to have done with it!). "Have a good day sir," the officer bid me as I buckled up dutifully and fired the car engine up: " Fuck off!" I thought, before saying " Thank-you," though what I had to be thankful for God only knows. "Keep your speed down in future", he said, with barely concealed schadenfreude ravaging his face. "Cheers then" I said, as if saying goodbye to a mate after a night on the razz. And I was on my way, harbouring a quiet and panicky rage.

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