It's probably no secret that we live in a rural area. When I say rural, I mean RURAL. It is nothing to drive two hours to a larger city (still not that large) for one thing or another. It doesn't take much more effort to drive 5-6 hours for a meeting, a class, or to see family. We are used to it. Sometimes when I arrive at a destination so far from home, people just can't even believe that I have traveled such a distance.
Good grief, when you grow up doing something like driving long distances, you kind of get used to it. In high school, we traveled hours and hours a week to sporting, band and other events. We went to college several hours away. When we came back, we lived almost a 30 minute drive to the country.
So, over my lifetime, it is safe to say I have spent a lot of time in the car.
When you have the opportunity to do a lot of driving, you learn things. You learn patterns of other drivers. You learn where the speed traps are. You know the speed limits in specific places. You know when a passing lane is coming up. Yeah. Maybe I get a bit cocky sometimes. I may or may not know where the wide open, flat spaces are. I may or may not have tried to "air it out" a little. Here's the deal. I am aware of my surroundings. I feel confident that I would never put myself or anyone else in danger. So.... both hands on the wheel, I may or may not have exceeded the speed limit by 4-5 miles per hour the other day. Or something like that. Who knows if my speedometer is properly calibrated? While I was driving, I was passed by two vehicles that absolutely blew right by me. I kept going at the same speed, and I'll be darned if I came up behind a highway patrolman (did I mention, this was in another state?), and I instinctively looked at my speed. I was probably 300 YARDS (way far) behind him when I could tell what he was.
Right. So I discovered I was going about 2 miles per hour over, and this officer was going maybe 35 in the right lane of a split four lane highway. I continued at what my vehicle said was 2 miles per hour over, used my blinker, obeyed every rule I knew, and as I am passing him, he flips on the lights, and it was not a suggestion to please check your speed. Immediately, I pull over. Trying to think of every rule I know, I reach for nothing, roll down my window, take off my sunglasses, and place both hands up high on the steering wheel. Watching him approach in the rear view mirror, I have already decided, this guy is bored. I must look really threatening because he is slowly approaching and looking all around. He has nothing better to do than to pull over a grandmother from out of state and tell her that ever so slightly exceeding the speed limit is unacceptable. I may or may not have had time for this. Quite possibly, I had a doctor appointment, was somewhat irritable and in pain (dang teeth and gums), had no interest in chatting, and now I am sitting on the side of the road for going 2 (TWO!) miles an hour over the speed limit. He told me he stopped me for speed. I verified the 2 mph over by asking him how fast I was going. Whatever. I give him everything he asks for -- drivers license, insurance ... and I am thinking, "go ahead -- call that in, and see what a threat I am to society." (My attitude definitely suffers when I am in pain.) But the actress in me totally comes out, and my best "yes, sir" and "no, sir" are on display. Seriously. I can't ever remember getting a speeding ticket. I don't think I ever have. And I thanked him for not giving me one that day.
And here is where I circle back and tell you about how living in a rural area pertains to this. There isn't a lot of traffic. You may or may not have to break a big rule to get the opportunity to visit with a law enforcement officer. The weather plays a factor. It doesn't rain around here very often, but if it is raining, you probably won't be stopped. If the wind is blowing 50 mph, maybe not.
But living way out west has its advantages. We live near a local airport, and I am notorious for hearing different planes coming and going. I run to the window or outside, and people always make fun of me. We have the greatest sunsets. The people are beyond the best anywhere. It's generally pretty quiet. It takes as long to get to the East coast as it does the West coast. And when you travel, you can listen to an audiobook (or two) wherever you go. Trying to keep it positive!