My friend Rex is not known for his tolerance. He has a very low threshold for the stupid, the asinine, and the illogical. In other words, he dislikes everyone in the world except for about three people and even they are all on his version of probation. In a failing effort to make himself appear more agreeable, he tries to soften the blow when he makes uncomplimentary comments. This in itself makes no sense because (1) anyone who knows him knows that being agreeable is not, shall we say, a top priority for him and (2) softening the blow does not appear to be even in the top twenty-five of his priorities. Anyway, he starts many of his sentences with, “I don’t mean this bad but…” Then he cuts loose with some of the worst (but true) zingers you ever heard. The result is often hilarious unless you are the zingee.
So just let me say, I don’t mean this bad but what is it with drivers? You know, the people behind the wheel of vehicles moving at one mile per minute or better whose main focus is not, factually speaking, driving.
Because pickle ball is more addicting than heroin (although slightly less expensive), I play six days a week to punish my knees and ankles and shoulders and, just occasionally, get hit in the face with a whiffle ball going Mach One. This is a lot more fun than it sounds. So, six days a week I find myself waiting for the light at the intersection of Monroe Concord and County Road.25A. 25A used to be one of the main thoroughfares north and south in the eastern U.S. before President Eisenhower invented I-75. 25A is still heavily used and at eight in the morning it looks like a cross between the bumper car ride at the fair and the chariot race scene from “Ben Hur.” Because 25A is a big, important road and Monroe Concord is a goat path, the light stays green for the north/south traffic most of the time. If you stop over the little rectangle of pavement where the metal sensor is, the light will eventually turn green for the east/west traffic and when it does, you’d better be ready. You’d also better be careful. I don’t know if drivers on 25A are complacent about their light being green or distracted or in a hurry or tempting fate but every single day at least one car sails through the red light on 25A. On one red-letter (so to speak) day, five, yes five cars went through the light after it had turned red. Not yellow. Red. If the Troy police are ever short of funds, they could plant themselves at this intersection and make the year’s budget.
Which brings me, finally, to my point. I don’t mean this bad, but exactly how erratically or fast do you have to be driving to get pulled over? This is not an idle or rhetorical question. It’s not too unusual to see cars going 10 to 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. And here’s the thing…if you don’t go that fast you are going to be run over by the line of cars behind you. The traffic police are in a real bind here because if they’d pull one car over for going 60 in a 50, they’d have to pull over a thousand cars. This would be great for revenue but really dire for traffic flow. And if there is one thing the American public loves and embraces wholeheartedly, it’s their traffic flow. Every time I see an Ohio State Patrol officer (may their shadow never decrease…what a thankless job) with someone off the side of the road I think…was that person doing a hundred miles an hour? Ramming the car in front of them? Weaving in and out of traffic like a madman although, ever since I saw a car pass another car on the right using that car’s entrance ramp to the Interstate, I’ve come to believe almost anything will be excused. With so many people driving so badly, how do the police possibly choose one to stop? What is the threshold for their tolerance? To paraphrase Captain Picard, “This far and no farther?” I, of course, am a law-abiding citizen and don’t run red lights and rarely go more than 10 over the limit and on the road am courteous to a fault so I should be exempt from any tickets. I don’t mean this bad but maybe they could give my ticket to Rex.