Ever the overachiever, I wrapped up February with two speeding tickets in two weeks, the due dates of which both landed on my sons’ respective birthdays. This leads me to the obvious conclusion that within my license and registration must be hidden some secret DaVinci code, which under the illumination of an officer’s penlight might read, “Her life doesn’t suck enough. Go ahead and ruin her kids’ birthdays too.”
Despite the sniveling and 24 hours of mild depression that followed each infraction, I began my most recent rendezvous with online traffic school in an unreasonably optimistic mood, opening the lid of my laptop like a perky college freshman. I read every word and aced every chapter test, sure that this reasonable little refresher would make me the conscientious driver those police officers hoped I one day could be. I, for one, can never be reminded enough that when driving in rural areas one must be on the look out for slow moving farm equipment such as tractors and combines. Right-o. Duly noted for the next time I bear east toward Nebraska for an afternoon romp.
But here I am – seven days later. A harder edged, more leathery version of my former bright eyed self. Because here’s what they don’t tell you about traffic school. It’s like a black hole filled with all the things you hate most about the world. Which, for me, include but are not limited to: compliance, lack of substance, dryness, transparency, bitterness, resentment, and complete and utter boredom.
All topped off by the incessant tick-tick-ticking of that trifling little police clock whose numbers have the cursed job of reminding you exactly how much time you MUST spend on each…and…every…page…before you click to the next. How much time it takes the ‘average’ person to read through the traffic babble. One page in I began to wonder, where do they get their estimates, these people? From second graders? Foreign exchange classrooms? Chimps? As if I haven’t done this once or twice before? Reading, that is.
Consider this, little clock, perhaps I’m a fast reader. Perhaps I was an English major and learned to skim. Perhaps you don’t know me well enough to know that the only thing I despise more than being told what to do is being told how slowly to do it.
So what does this say about me? More than you might think. See I was the kid who went to every class, who turned in every homework assignment, who actually did summer reading. Yes, I despised the man, but I loved the work. And as much as I tried this last week to bring that spirit back to the traffic school table, this time I’ve got to say my inner eighth grade rebel prevailed.
I’m not ashamed to admit that as soon as I realized this intended three hour course would take more like nine, I decided to stop reading. I embraced the Food Network, e-mailing, and bathroom breaks, and just waited for the clock to run out at the bottom of each page before clicking through to the next. And you know what? I still aced every common sense answer and sneaky trick question. Okay, there are none of those. That at least would have made it interesting.
All in all I missed 2 out of 50 on the final exam, and have decided to take my friend’s advice and hire someone to do it for me next time. No matter how much they charge, I assure you, it won’t be enough to restore their sanity afterward.
And for me, the moral of the story? I’ll have to dig deep and get back to you about that one. I’m still too pissed at the man to think straight.
P.S. And because I know this questions is coming, yes, I did try the whole self induced nosebleed thing at the time of ticketing. Great in concept, but I think you may also find, if you try as hard as I did, that it’s easier said than done. And an avalanche of snot and tears doesn’t quite have the same impact. I tried that one too.