There I was, stopped for speeding on the West Side Highway for doing what I have always done—keeping up with traffic. Two days later, stopped for speeding on Rte 28 for passing by going faster than the speed limit. As I explained to the cop, it’s only logical to get in and out of the passing lane decisively to avoid hitting him. One more stop in the next 18 months and I’m busted–license pulled for 6 months.
After the anger, or rather as a result of it, my behavior was re-assessed, and my mind made up. No tickets for a year (and a half). But how?
I soon realized there was a connection between the two events. In both casesI was doing what I had developed over the million miles and accepted as common practice and suddenly all that I had developed was called into question. So, under the gun, my mind was made up. Drive exactly at the speed limit. Ignore other drivers who buzzed by me, flashed their lights at me for driving to slowly, and never modify my behavior except to avoid an accident. Stay street legal.
The result of this change was profound. By ignoring all my well-learned instincts I avoided multiple traffic stops (the cops were out there like flies laying eggs on rotten meat, drivers infested with flashing lights, embarrassment, angry wives or husbands, and big fines). One person in a Mercedes thought that my being in the passing lane driving the speed limit was just TOO MUCH and kept flashing his headlights until I pulled over after ten minutes of matching the speed of a tractor-trailer who also was driving the speed limit but one lane over on the two lane interstate. And by driving in the far-right lane, not one but two cars pulled out in front of me, I being in this unused-to lane since I was now the slowest car on the road. BUT, I twice slammed on my brakes and arrived home safely—totally fried.
After sleeping ten hours I am still stewing. My life has changed. Now I am following the rules, different rules from those I developed over a million miles analyzing traffic-generated pressure waves, intuiting what will be the faster lane, and taking the occasional risk to save a minute — systems that seem to me adaptive and efficient but get me into trouble with the law. Exceeding the speed limit to make a safe pass? No brainer. Staying with the flow of cars? They’d have to stop everyone so there is no danger of being stopped. I have a litany of reasons which in the harsh light are nothing but excuses for doing exactly what I want to–get there as fast as possible.
NO MORE TICKETS. Or as Burton Greene once told me wisely, the the mind of the pilot goes faster than the rocket ship. The time”wasted” spent driving legally frees me to intuit unimaginable things faster than the speed of thought–a dutiful rebellion. Improvising faster than the speed of thought. Spiritual life without the spirit. When the Captain says “engage” my superluminous mind, not my spaceship, will approach warp 11.