Yesterday marked the end of a nearly*** perfect driving record. Almost twenty-eight years without a single ticket (I’m aging myself here, aren’t I?)
Yesterday, I was pulled over for speeding. And not just plain old speeding, wait for it; speeding in a school zone.
Now those of you who know me well appreciate that I am a typical first born; I don’t break rules. I file my taxes on time, never carry a balance on my Visa, always wait my turn in line and cannot tell a lie (I’ve tried and it’s obvious to everyone). I am generally, a careful, attentive driver.
Yesterday, I was not.
It was a very busy day. I finished with a client at 10 and had half an hour before I was scheduled to pick my daughter up from school to take her to the hospital (just a regular, three month appointment with her cardiologist; long story). It was my youngest son’s birthday and he had asked me to pick up some Timbits to share with his classmates at lunch. This, because he doesn’t particularly like my healthier version of a cupcake…
(The irony of getting a speeding ticket while enroute to Tim Hortons during the third week of my no sugar challenge does not escape me.)
Anyways, not being in the habit of visiting Tim Hortons (no linky, for obvious reasons!), and in particular, never having driven there from this client’s house, I ventured down a street I had never driven on before. My internal GPS told me it was the right thing to do.
I started down a steep hill, stopped at a pedestrian cross walk to let an elderly couple get across the street and picked up speed again as I neared the bottom of the slope. I noticed the police officer in the middle of the road at about the same time as I saw the school zone sign. We made eye contact and he motioned me to pull over. I knew immediately that I was hooped.
In my town, the speed limit in residential neighborhoods is 50 km per hour (that’s about 30 mph). In school zones, drivers must slow down to 30 kph (18 mph). I am a firm believer in reduced speeds around schools, so I will not whine or complain about my ticket. Children’s safety is more important than Timbits (in oh so many ways!).
The officer asked me if I knew how fast I was going. I didn’t and told him so. He asked me where I was going and I told him the story, apologizing for speeding and admitting that I just wasn’t paying attention; I was preoccupied with my to-d0 list.
He told me that I had been clocked going 50 kph (recall that this is acceptable outside of school zones, I’m really not a speed demon) and as a consequence, he would have to give me a ticket. However, because I had told him the truth and appeared contrite he would reduce the amount from $256 to $196. I guess honesty pays (but not nearly enough…).
This whole episode made me think a lot about being attentive and mindful, not just to what you eat and how you exercise, but to all of the details of your day. We have a saying in my house (having two impulsive boys, we say it alot!); “accidents happen when people are careless”. I was careless. Fortunately, there was no accident. This time.
We talked about “mommy’s little mistake” at dinner. My children were amused that I had done exactly what I have been heard to criticize other drivers for. I used the experience to talk about the importance of taking responsibility and accepting the consequences of one’s actions. The value of being ‘in the moment’ and aware of your actions at all times.
My youngest child’s response to the size of the ticket was “Wow, Mom, that money would have bought a lot of apps!” Myself, I was thinking about how I wouldn’t be able to buy myself that new Lululemon jacket I’ve been coveting, having just donated the money to local government…
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. ~Buddha
*** About 5 years ago I was stopped for going 35 kph in a school zone (what is it with me and school zones?). I was given a warning. No infraction, no ticket, no affect on driving record!