Hatch Can't Drive 65
So for the last six months, I've been driving down to Atlanta from Nashville most Mondays. It's right at 241 miles from my driveway to the parking deck at Home Depot. I usually make it in about 3.5 hours, including one stop for a biobreak and a diet coke purchase and maybe some gasoline. I pretty much know where all the places are that the cops like to hang out and slow down in the appropriate spots.
On I75 the average speed is about 75 to 80 m.ph. I usually stay just under 80. Last Monday, however, my luck ran out.
Now since I turned 16, I've averaged being pulled over about every three years. So up to this point I'd been pulled over 6 times and received a ticket 4 of those times. I talked my way out of one, and for some reason the cop was incredibly kind when I got pulled over when I was 16 and he just told me to slow it down.
This day, however, I was stone cold busted. The radio station I was listening to was playing a live version of "Freebird" and it was in the fast section at the end. I was passing someone, so I was in the far left lane when I saw blue lights in the median about 1/4 of a mile in front of me. I slowed down, pulled into the center lane, and prayed it wasn't me, but when I had looked down at my gauge when I saw the lights I was going about 90, so I wasn't too hopeful.
The trooper is still in the left lane when he goes out of sight in my rearview mirror, so I'm actually hoping it wasn't me he was after. As I looked to my left out of the window though, I see that he's pulled along side of me. He points at me, then points to the left shoulder of the Interstate. I nod and pull off with him behind me.
The trooper walks up and I roll the window down. He looks a lot like Maynard from HeeHaw or a younger Jackie Gleason from Smokey and the Bandit. His accent is all Georgia backwoods.
"Sir, I clocked you with my laser back there at 88 miles per hour in a 65 zone. Do you have any reasonable justification for going that fast?"
I blinked for a moment, slightly stunned by the question. I turned on my own deep woods Alabama accent and handed him my license. I had no idea where my registration or insurance was and figured I'd have to dig it out of the pile of crap in my back seat.
"Well, no sir, I just wasn't paying any attention really and they were playing Freebird on the radio."
He chuckled and said he'd be right back.
I sat there pondering what a reasonable justification was that would allow me to go 88 m.p.h. in a 65. I came up blank. After a few minutes he came back with my citation and explained my court date and what number to call and all the usual stuff.
"Sir, I'm not trying to be a smartass when I ask this..."
"I understand," he replied quickly.
"But I just have to wonder what would be a reasonable justification for speeding?"
He chuckled again and grinned at me. "Well, I just like to ask people that to see what they're gonna say. I suppose if you had cut your leg off or something. I wouldn't let you go any further, but I'd get you some help. One ole boy told me he was having a heart attack, and I took him to the hospital, but he was lying and just ended up going to jail instead."
We both laughed.
"You work here in Atlanta," he asked?
"Well you're like the second ole boy I've pulled over in a week that lives in Nashville and works in Atlanta."
"You just need to slow it down just a little bit," he said with honest to God sincerity. He actually dipped his head and shoulders as he said "dowwnnnn." I promised him I would as we waved at each other and I pulled back onto the Interstate.