- 7/7/2011 6:15 AM ET
Ione, I so understand! Cause and effect it is! :)
| I was driving down Oakland Drive grooving to Dusty Springfield singing, “You don’t have to love me” on the oldies station. I had just been to The Smokehouse on Shaver Road and decided to skip the Westnedge traffic. It was a beautiful day, perfect temperature. I had my windows open to capture the breeze. Life was good. I was really enjoying my drive and looking forward to tasting the smoked beef brisket I had just purchased. The smell of the beef was so enticing I was tempted to eat it while I was driving, but being a very responsible driver I decided to wait to indulge myself until I got home.
I had just crossed Centre Street, cruising along with the flow of traffic, when I saw his car. He was waiting on a side street. I looked at my speedometer and saw that I was going sixty. I took my foot off the gas and the other cars were pulling away from me. Sure enough, he pulled out behind me and flashed the dreaded blue-and-red lights. At least he didn’t turn on the siren. I pulled over, knowing I was going to get a ticket. As the officer approached the car I took my license and proof of insurance from my purse. The officer also asked for my registration, which I found in my glove box.
“Are you in a hurry to get somewhere, Ma’am?” the officer inquired.
“No,” I replied.
“Do you know how fast you were going?”
“No,” I lied.
“Do you know what the speed limit is here?”
“No. I was going as fast as the other cars.”
“The speed limit here is thirty-five and I clocked you at fifty-three.”
“Oh,” I said, thinking Oh shit.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” he said and returned to his squad car. He was there for a long time. I figured he was checking to see what other kind of trouble I had on my record. I knew the only thing he’d find was a speeding ticket in Vicksburg I got years ago, and that was at a speed trap too.
While I was waiting I was wondering why I got the ticket. I was only keeping up with traffic. My husband and kids are always giving me a hard time about going too slow. I’m a good driver and was not trying to speed. Why not stop some kid with a loud muffler who tries to show off his masculinity by driving fast? Or what about some aggressive driver who weaves in and out of traffic? I bet if I was a young and shapely woman, I’d just get a warning. Why pick on a sweet old grandma like me?
The officer came to my window, with ticket in hand. “I wrote you a ticket but I reduced it down to forty-five so you were charged for going ten miles above the speed limit.”
I was happy that he’d gone easy on me until he showed me how much my fine would be. One hundred and ten dollars! The ticket had to be paid in ten days. Who keeps an extra one hundred and ten dollars in their checking account? Not us. We live paycheck to paycheck. We were going on vacation in a couple of weeks and there went a good portion of our vacation fund.
I started thinking about how unfair the whole judicial system was, especially for poor people. While I’m not poor, one hundred and ten dollars means a lot more to me than to a rich person. What about a really poor person? Where would she find that much money in ten days? That’s what’s wrong with our whole society. The rich people get off easy while we working people have to pay our hard earned dollars in this unfair system.
Driving home I obsessed even more about how unfair it all was. I’m a firm believer in karma. I’m a good person. Why do these bad things have to happen to me? I give generously to charities. I just rescued a big ugly black spider with a napkin and put it outside instead of squishing it. I don’t litter. I pick up my dog’s poop. I return the carts to the corrals at the grocery store and even pick one up from outside when I enter the store just to be a good doobie. It’s just not fair. I should not be having this bad karma. What did I do to deserve this?
Then it occurred to me, I was speeding, cause and effect. Isn’t that what karma is? The cause was speeding and the karma was a ticket. Yes, sometimes a ticket is just a ticket.
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