A couple of nights ago we had a torrential rainstorm, and I had to drive in it to pick up Gamer. I’d agreed to meet my ex halfway, at a shopping center parking lot. I had my wipers at full speed, was crawling at about 10 miles per hour, and could still barely see. Some cars pulled over to the side of the road, but some fools, like me, kept going.
As I approached the shopping center, I maneuvered into the left turning lane and stopped at the light. A couple of cars coming toward me flew through the intersection. A deluge wasn’t going to slow them down. As they went sailing by, I realized how vulnerable I was. The road was notorious for flooded outer lanes during heavy rain. I could just see someone hydroplaning into me. I looked at the light. Still red. I looked at the oncoming lanes. No cars. I looked back at the light then…I turned left. On red. Me. The woman who has driven for twenty-seven years without (cross fingers, throw salt and knock on laminate) one ticket. The closest I ever got to one was while driving my daughter to ballet class, with all four kids, ages 5-12, in the van. The blue and red lights flashed behind me and I pulled over in front of the dance school, as mothers and their leotard clad daughters entered the building. I lowered my window, the music from our Classical Kids Mozart’s Magic Fantasy tape filling the air. The police officer said, a grin on his face, “I bet you have no idea why I pulled you over.” “I’m sorry, I don’t,” I replied. I didn’t think I’d been speeding. He went on to tell me that the little sticker on the license plate needed updating. He gave me a verbal warning and left smiling. That was my one brush with the law (unlike my ex—I’m thinking particularly of a certain trip to Texas when, being pulled over for the third time, Wordsmith, then age four, said cheerily, “Here come the powice again, Daddy”). The other night, in front of the shopping center, there was no patrol car, and I turned left on red without consequence. I don’t plan on making a career out of lawbreaking, though. In case you were wondering.