The music blares. Your speedometer reads 80 mph as you look down while belting out your favorite song.
But the interstate limit is 70.
You begin to weigh the risks of paying a ticket you don’t have the money for against the desire to shave time off that 10–hour drive.
Maybe, you hear your nagging mother’s voice saying, “It’s against the law, whether they catch you or not! Plus, it’s just not safe!”
Also, maybe you wonder whether your old Ford Focus engine might fall out if you take it past 80.
Whatever your reason, you pick a state of speeding limbo, fluctuating from 75 to 80 and keeping your eye out for that dreaded, power-hungry state trooper, who always seems to have a mustache like Magnum P.I.
You tell yourself: “I won’t get pulled over. Some cars are flying by me at 90 mph. The trooper will get them, not me.”
You turn up the volume. A look around tells you nobody’s watching, and the dancing happens. First in the head, then your shoulders begin shaking and before you know it, you’re swinging your whole body back and forth.
The loud music and bob of your head distracts you. You push down on the accelerator just a little more.
But a slight glance brings you back to reality.
You lower the force of your foot to the pedal. “I don’t have the money for a ticket,” you say.
Your speed lowers to 74 or 75, and you keep it there. Although the faster cars seem to judge you as a grandma when they fly past, you hold your speed.
Still, you pass cars going 70 and can’t bring yourself to do the same. “It would take me 10 years to get home then. At this rate, it will still be late.”
Then, you notice a slower car ahead. As you drive closer to it, you realize it’s a Magnum P.I. wannabe. He’s going slow, though. You drive behind him for a moment, but he’s going 65.
“Maybe he’s trying to catch someone,” you think. “But I feel weird passing him.”
As you drive up beside him, he slows down and gets behind you in the right lane.
His lights flash on. He wanted to catch you.
“Great,” you say. “What’s going on? I was barely going over 70 for a while now. Is this karma for earlier?”
You pull over, confused.
Through your rearview mirror, you that Smokey-the-Bear hat bobbing toward your car.
“I pulled you over for speeding. Was there a reason you were going so fast?” He says.
“I guess I didn’t realize I was,” you say. “I thought I was going maybe 73 or 74.” While you think, “You look ridiculous in that hat.”
“Well, maybe at one point, but I saw you go past one truck from my rearview mirror,” he says. “Do you not realize we have radar guns that measure from behind?”
You stare at him, realizing you have nothing good to say.
He takes your license and insurance and walks back to his trooper mover. You think of all the sarcastic comments in the world and try to keep it together. “If I get a ticket for going 74, that’s just messed up.”
He comes back and starts rambling to you about anything over 70 being against the law in Texas. You begin to roll your eyes and want to ask about the others going 90 but pretend you’re looking at the sky. “Yes, sir,” you say.
You wonder how much the ticket will be.
But instead, you catch that beautiful break.
You hear the words, “I’m letting you off with a warning this time, but you need to slow down,” from the trooper. The knot in your stomach loosens, and that Magnum P.I. mustache becomes oddly attractive.
He hands you the warning paper and flexes back to his car. You flip on your turn signal and merge back onto the highway.
You turn up the volume but decide to keep the dancing to a minimum, at least, until the trooper exits the interstate.
Now, the typical Christian response to this would probably be, “God knows how fast you were going earlier.” I would, of course, agree. But he also knows about the earlier decision to slow down. Sometimes we can figure out things without the “punishment.” Isn’t the end result the same? Don’t you still learn the lesson?