Speeding Ticket

25mphDriving in the residential neighborhood I live in, my eyes focus on the intersection coming up at the end of the street. Suddenly, there is a cop standing on the side of the road, with his hand up, telling me to stop, then directing me into the parking lot of a row of apartments.

There are two of them. Young bucks. One in a police car, one motioning drivers over. There are at least half a dozen cars pulled over. Speed trap.

He swaggers toward my car, sunglasses as armor. I roll down the window.

“Do you happen to know what the speed limit is right here?” he asks in a condescending tone, motioning toward the street behind him.

“I’m not sure,” I say.

“Where do you live?”

“I live just around the corner, but we are new to the area.”

“How long have you lived here?”

“A couple of months.”

“You’ve lived here a couple of months and you have never noticed the speed limit? You want to take a guess as to what it is?” He might as well add “you stupid shit,” to the end of his sentence.

He looks at my license.

“This is an Ohio license. Do you happen to know how long you have to obtain a Florida license if you are planning on living here?” (you stupid shit?)

I shake my head.

“30 days,” he glares.

I look at him, and nod, “Okay.”

“I’ll be right back. Don’t leave the car,” he commands. As if this mom in a ball cap and yoga pants is going to make a run for it.

As he walks away from me, his partner ushers another vehicle into the lot.

I have not gotten a speeding ticket or any other traffic infraction in 25 years. The last time I got pulled over was about 18 years ago. I had gone straight in a turn-only lane, on my way home from an intense therapy session. The cop was more hostile than today’s cop. He screamed at me, and I completely lost it. I was crying hysterically. To the point where he changed his tone and wondered if someone had died? Was I sick? Had I just come from the hospital with a bad diagnosis? He actually asked those questions. I couldn’t even respond I was so broken up. He let me go.

Today when the cop walks back to his police car, I close my eyes. Rather than taking in his attitude, I study it. The condescension is probably part of his training. It isn’t personal. It has to feel wrong to be setting up neighborhood residents who are really not going terribly fast, or causing any danger, just to get revenue. Or maybe not. Maybe the power trip is fully enjoyed, which is even sadder for his soul.

I think about the yelling cop from 18 years ago and a wave of sorrow passes through me for who I was and what I was going through at the time. I could not handle anyone being mean to me. Being mad at me. It’s still hard. But today I don’t crumble.

I start to “go there” with the victim thing. I don’t want to pay a fine. I am the victim of these cops and their unfair trap. Then I go somewhere else, where cops are total assholes. I breath that thought in, and then breath it right back out.

They are doing their jobs.

They are doing their jobs.

They are just doing their jobs.

I will not hate them.

I close my eyes and breathing, practice a mantra I’ve been working on.

My heart releases, my heart forgives.

My heart releases, my heart forgives.

My heart releases my heart forgives.

I think of Nelson Mandela who just made his transition. What he endured. I am getting a pinprick of attitude from these cops. And I likely was speeding. Mandela didn’t hate, even after being wrongly imprisoned for 26 years. I’m not going to hate anyone over a speeding ticket.




A spiritual teaching I value floats through my mind:

This is not happening to you. It is happening for you.

But why? Why do I need this? Why is this for me? What’s here to learn?

I remember me of 18 years ago.

I breathe.

I experience me right now in the present, with the calm heart. The me here, now, deciding not to be a victim. Deciding not to hate.




I am calm. So very calm. It’s strange, really. Take your time, young cop. Do what you’ve got to do. I’m good.

I have completely surrendered.

He comes back to my car and hands me the ticket. Hands me a flyer and tells me I can plead guilty or go to traffic school or plead not guilty, the whole nine yards. I look right at him, right though his sunglasses and into his eyes, with my calm.

“Be careful,” he says. I raise my eyebrow, because we both know this isn’t about careful. I was not a danger to society, and neither were any of the other cars lined up in the parking lot, awaiting their fate.

“Thank you,” I say, calmly.

He looks slightly puzzled, my reaction is unexpected. Then he walks away, politely stopping traffic so I can exit the lot.

Later, on the phone, I tell a friend about my ticket and, “I hate cops,” flies out of my mouth. But it’s hollow. It was just something to say. I can’t pull the hate up for trying.

This experience was for me. It helped me value where I’ve been, and where I am today.

It’s been some ride. I like where I am, and where I am headed (at no more than 25MPH).


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10 Responses to Speeding Ticket

  1. kario says:

    You are a wonder. And so, so right about this. Where he is on his path has nothing to do with you, and your path is a beautiful, glorious one full of love and light.


  2. Kim G. says:

    You are a teacher and a rock star. Thank you for sharing this truth. Love you!

  3. Carrie Link says:

    YAMH. Get that Florida license, and get back to blogging. In that order.

  4. Julie says:

    Oh my dear friend. Who is not even my friend really–just a woman who used to live in a state that touches my state whose blog I love—I apologize that you had to get a speeding ticket for me to hear your words of wisdom “My heart release, my heart forgives” and “this is happening FOR me”.
    I check in often, sigh when I see the photos of the ocean, wonder if you know that it’s snowing here 🙂
    Wishing you well and happy holidays!!

  5. Oh, my. You have taught me something incredible with this post. You have. I won’t say anything else, but thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  6. Meg says:

    Amazing things happen when we are able to step back and apply the wisdom inside of ourselves. Way to not let a silly ticket ruin your day, but instead teach you something about your wonderful self!

  7. Marianne McKiernan says:

    Well done, you! And you also taught the officer something, too. It may take a little while to sink in, but something in him shifted. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  8. Tanya Savko says:

    “It is happening for you” – yes. I need this reminder every single day. Thank you! xoxo

  9. Nina says:

    “I like where I am, and where I am headed . . . ”

    What else can anyone ask for? I’m so glad to see that line. I feel the same way. Grateful for that.

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