Go to content Go to navigation Go to search

Shot Of The Day

Slow Down, School Zone

I got a ticket yesterday. Going 29 in a 15 MPH school zone. School zone tickets aren’t cheap. This one is $305.00. Ouch! I’ve been driving for more than 30 years and it’s my second ticket. Not that I’m bragging. I’ve deserved many more. Just ask my son how many more I’ve deserved but never got [teenagers will tell you those kinds of things because they can see you in ways you can’t really see yourself from the high pedestal of authority]. It wasn’t the ticket that bothered me. It was the fact that I didn’t even realize I was in a school zone. I had no idea. It’s one thing to get a ticket when you know you are doing something wrong. But when you have no idea, it bugs you in a different place. Like the little girl place that wants to jump up and down screaming “But that’s not fair!” I entered the main street from a side street. That side street enters the main street in the middle of the school zone. The sign warning of the zone is before the side street so the cars already on the street know it is a zone. But the cars entering the street have no idea until they get to the next “zone sign.” Shouldn’t there be a sign on the side street warning you that you are about to enter a school zone? I discovered all of this later as I retraced my drive trying to figure out how I could have possibly been such an idiot and missed the sign. [Remember as you roll your eyes at that last comment that I am still licking my wounds]. The sign warning of the zone was one of those signs that flashes yellow lights when the “zone” is in effect. It doesn’t have standard times listed like the one on my street. It doesn’t say, it is always school zone time from 7:15 to 8:30 or from 2:15 to 3:00. No. This zone just says, when the lights are on, you are “in the zone” and when the lights are off, you are “out of the zone.” I didn’t see any flashing lights. The cop was super nice. I told him I had no idea I was in a school zone to which he gave me one of those “I’ve heard it all before lady — yeah right” kind of looks and asked, “Aren’t you familiar with the area?” I am, but I usually don’t take that side street to enter the road and I usually don’t go down this street in the morning. So I guess the answer is yes, but no? As I was retracing my steps I felt certain that if I had seen flashing lights, I would have either slowed down or accepted the ticket with grace. But I saw no lights. I started to wonder whether I was distracted. I thought about the place I had left just moments before turning on to that road. Was I too much in my head to notice other cars around me going slowly? My mind was definitely somewhere else. The woman I had just been with recently suffered enormous loss. Loss that many of us don’t want to comprehend. Loss that makes you feel like your world has been turned upside down. It flattens you but you can’t afford to be flattened because you have small children depending on you so you keep moving. That kind of loss. I sat as she told her story and wondered “What can I possibly tell her that will make this better?” I started to share some of my own loss and the comfort I received, but it seemed so inadequate. I had no ready answers. All I could do was to hug her and let her cry, grieve with her, pray for comfort. I look back on that moment now and I think… the lights in my heart should have been flashing “school is in session!” “You are in a school zone Kat.” “Don’t drive too fast here.” “Slow down.” I left thinking about the irony that I would be starting school the next day [today] to study the Christian faith, but that this moment with this woman was every bit as much, or more, a part of my education as any book I would read or principle I could memorize. I wasn’t with that woman because I had all the answers. I was with that woman because I have so much to learn about love. And the opportunities to learn much about authentic love seems to come at very dark times and in places that most of us really don’t feel comfortable going. Funnily, people seem most open to receive love when they are at the end of their ability to control a situation, to fix a problem, to make something better. I’m realizing that we are always in a school zone whether we see the lights flashing or not. Life is one gigantic school zone. But most of us are going too fast. I am going too fast. I need to slow down in this school of love so I don’t miss the lesson. I haven’t decided whether I will challenge the ticket yet. But I have decided this. At the end of the day, whether I have to pay the ticket or not, the lesson was worth it. The school of love is always in session. Have a slow day at school today! At least that’s what I’m gonna tell myself when I get in the car to go to my first class.

Posted: 16 September 2011