Life in the fast lane is no good

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As BoyWonder and GirlWonder have reached college age, Mr. Wonderful and I have taken the following position on paying for college. To whit: they do. We do not.

That doesn’t mean we don’t pay for things. Oh, we do.

We provide room and board, vehicles, phones, insurance (automotive and medical) and food. Oh, so much food.

What it means is that we want them to have skin in the game on the actual cost of books and tuition. To feel as invested in their chosen majors financially as academically.

Nothing gets a student working on making sure they graduate on time quite like the prospect of paying for an extra semester. What this means is that other than tuition and books, they don’t have bills to speak of.

This information is important for the rest of the story, as the saying goes.

Kidding

I have this information second hand, but I am told BoyWonder’s eyes fairly gleamed as he carried the mail toward Mr. Wonderful.

Seeing the return address on the envelope was clearly from the police department of a nearby urban area, he almost danced with glee as he exclaimed that Mom got a ticket!

Even among a loving family, there is a certain schadenfreude in seeing a role model exhibit a fault.

I’m sure he was already imagining all the kidding I would get. Leadfoot Mom and all.

Knowing as he does that Mom (aka me) doesn’t venture out much and certainly doesn’t speed for the most part, Mr. Wonderful paused a moment to think about this.

This just didn’t seem like my usual pace. Then a lightbulb went off. He then said, with all the wisdom of a father who knows he is right, the ultimate in gotcha sentence, “The only vehicle in Mom’s name is the one YOU drive son.”

Sure enough, there was the vehicle that BoyWonder drives daily captured going 12 miles per hour faster than the posted speed limit. They really got some nice shots of my vehicle speeding along to (or from?) class.

Complaint

This led to the inevitable fury on the part of the 21-year-old that traffic cameras are just plain wrong!

Granted, I could somewhat see his point of view. They are a money grab. They do little to actually prevent unsafe situations (how is finding out a week later you were driving too fast helpful?).

I agree that they are just plain annoying as heck. There you are minding your own business and you get at ticket in the MAIL? Et tu U.S. Postal Service?

BoyWonder certainly felt personally affronted. When he got done ranting and railing we asked, calmly, if he thought he might actually have been speeding? He said he probably was.

We listened to all this and then said the words of parents since time began: suck it up buttercup. Translation: pay your fine.

Then pay the ticket and learn a lesson son. It’s a $100 lesson, surely, but that speed camera may someday save a life. I speak from experience.

I was a grown woman old enough to know better (driving a minivan no less!) And was pulled over on my way to lunch with a friend on my birthday years ago.

I had been driving along thinking about the fun day ahead and not paying a bit of attention until I was pulled over. I was even annoyed that I was being given a ticket on my birthday no less!

Was there no justice? As he handed me the paper, the officer glanced in my backseat where the empty car seat and booster seat of my small children were strapped, even though they were not with me.

As he handed me the ticket, the officer said, very kindly “please pay better attention to your driving. I can see you have people who need you very much.”

I teared up right there in the front seat of the car. Was I angry? Annoyed? Exasperated? No. The truth is that that officer was 100 percent correct. He did his job and did me a favor.

I deserved the ticket and the reminder. Whether figurative or literal, life in the fast lane is unsafe. Do your loved ones a favor and slow down.

STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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