Sunday, September 11, 2011

... The More They Stay The Same

The other day I was in the Jeep, kind of cruising on my way home. Flying on autopilot. Paying attention to the road, but everything else about driving was kind of running in the background of my mind. I got to a spot where the street I was on goes downhill and winds in an S-curve, right then left, then straightens back out for a bit before the stop sign at the end. The houses there are pretty close together, and seem to loom over the street. It's not really crowded, not as cramped as it appears, with room for a sidewalk on your left and even space for a few cars to park. Everything is close enough, however, that you can't see around either of the bends in the road. It's a little like an 'S' shaped corridor.
I went into this curve with a little zest. A little verve. A little speed. If I were a kid I might have entered the first curve while saying 'zooommm..." at least, I would have been saying that until I saw the cop. Sitting right in the middle of the S-bend so that it couldn't be seen from either before or after the curves, was a police cruiser. And it was occupied.
My eyes flew to the speedometer as my foot touched the brake. It was too late, I saw, as I passed the officer doing 35 in a 25. Or was it a 20? I strained to remember as I pulled up to the stop sign after the curves. There I sat, my eyes glued to the rear-view mirror. I sat stiffly, looking with my eyes only, since to turn around to look might seem guilty. I sat and prayed not to see the cop car come around the bend.
And there came a car! My heart dropped until I saw that, rather than a police car, this was a grey Buick. As they pulled up behind me I could hear their music, feel the too-high Bass keeping the rhythm in my stomach. From their silhouettes I could tell that there were two of them, and they had their hats on sideways; a practice that, to me, deserves a stinging slap. Much like wearing your pants half-way down.
But as they pulled right behind me at the stop sign, I could see them more clearly. Both were about 18 years old, sitting up straight, eyes glued to the rear view and wing mirrors, refusing to turn around and look as that might seem guilty. They both looked wide-eyed and intense, each concentrating on his own prayers that the cop car not come around the bend behind them.

I laughed.

I may have been 42, listening to the local Country station and dressed in a way that I would call 'sensible', and they may have been 18, listening to hip-hop way too loud and dressed like rap star wannabes, but we had one thing in common.

Guilt looks the same no matter how old you are!

Talk to you later!

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