Years ago the Boss and I were driving from Knoxville Tennessee to New York City. Somewhere in Virginia, I got pulled over and received a punishing speeding ticket.
She had all sorts of emotions I didn’t expect. First was a mix of shock, fear, and embarrassment. Surprisingly, that was the first time she had ever been in a car that got pulled over (she’s from Brooklyn and didn’t have her license until she was 30). Those emotions were quickly replaced by anger when she saw the $170 fine and understood that we’d have to drive 7 hours to rural Virginia if we wanted to fight it.
I was angry too. But we were angry at different people. I was angry at the system and the police officer who gave me the ticket.
She was angry at me.
I tried to defend myself. I explained how safe a driver I was and how I always drive at a speed that’s safe given weather and traffic conditions. I preached about the revenue-generating motives of rural municipalities lucky enough to have jurisdiction over a stretch of interstate highway.
She listened with a patience and calm that I would not experience on a regular basis until we had many more years of marriage under our belt. After I made my case she asked three simple questions:
“How fast were you going?” (80)
“What is the speed limit? (65)
“How much faster will going 80 get us to New York?”
I immediately answered “gotta be hours“. She told me to do the math. Here’s the math (as the bird flies)
- Knoxville TN to Brooklyn NY: 716 miles
- Travel time at 65mph: 11.01 hours
- Travel time at 80mph: 8.95 hours
- Difference: 2 hours
So…..2 hours. Here was the next question:
“Is 2 hours worth $170 and upsetting me?”
I had to admit…it was not. That was the last time I ever willfully went more than 5 miles above the speed limit.
Now you may say “2 hours is a lot”. But you have to realize that’s over the course of a journey spanning over 700 miles. Check out them math on a more typical car drive:
- Distance to wherever: 10 miles
- Travel time at 65mph: 9 minutes, 14 seconds
- Travel time at 80mph: 7 minutes, 30 seconds
- Difference: 1 minute, 44 seconds
Now I ask you is 1 minute and 44 seconds worth $100-something dollars, points on your license, and pissing off your wife? Hint: that’s rhetorical question.