It’s Your Lucky Day, Sir

The freeway this morning was a little wet, but that has not typically caused a noticeable change in traffic speeds. Up near County Road J where I-35E Southbound is still only 2 lanes, it tends to be going around 79mph (posted: 70) at 6:15am M-F. Today, it was 72-ish, with more flickering of brake lights here and there than usual. I noticed it, but only barely. I mused as to why it might be, but only briefly.

I don’t set my cruise at 80 in that 70 zone because I think it is the best idea. I do so because I have learned that is the typical speed, both lanes (all 3 lanes a little further South), day after day.

I don’t have a MNPass thing on my windshield because I want to go 10-over. I have it because the other 2 (then 3, then 4) lanes as we approach Downtown St. Paul are fraught with unpredictability. And trucks. And Metro Mobility buses. And lots of regular old morons who follow too close, then JAM on the brakes when something happens in front of them, causing the moron behind them to have to jam the brakes on even harder… while I continue along at the speed the MNPass lane had been going all along.

So it turned out this morning that the reason the two lanes of I-35E were erratically going slower than usual was because there was a MN Hwy Patrol squad in the right lane.

When the MNPass lane finally appeared, I merged left into it. On a typical morning, I would see a few cars ahead of me merge into it and speed up to 80mph. On a typical morning, I would see a couple cars behind me merge into it and speed up to keep pace behind me. And we’d all continue at 80 until the posted speed drops by 10 approaching I-694, and all 3 (then 4) lanes go 70 at that point.

You know what you can’t do without getting involved in Road Rage incidents, and putting yourself in the midst of the most aggressive, conflict-laden, unsafe driving behavior? You can’t drive in the far left lane MORE SLOWLY than the lanes to the right, at any time, for any reason.

You know what else you can’t do? You can’t drive in the 2nd-to-left lane at 5-over, then merge across the double-white line to the MNPass lane just as the 2nd-to-left lane slows to 10-under.

If you’re going to use the MNPass lane, you need to get in it and stay in it, and go along to get along. Drive the same speed as the majority. Just try to not piss other people off… even while you’re wishing the majority was going 5-7mph slower than they typically do.

So the MN Hwy Patrol gentleman who pulled me over this morning asked me, “Do you know how fast you were going when you passed me?”

“No, I do not, but I could take a guess.”

“Go ahead and take a guess.”

I know they say you shouldn’t do this, but I gave him an honest shot, “Maybe 79.”

“That sounds about right.”

Then we had a nice chat about what my personal responsibilities are, and the conflict I’m trying to avoid, and society’s problem of aggression, and my contention that there isn’t nearly enough enforcement of the speed limit, “and quite frankly I’m glad you pulled me over, ‘cuz with your lights going, EVERYBODY is going slower, and that’s better for EVERYONE. I’ll take that hit. I’ll HAPPILY take that hit, sir.”

I swear, I practically begged for a ticket. He asked me “So what do you think should happen with you today, now that I’ve pulled you over?”

My response was, “Oh, I should get a ticket. Absolutely. I did all the things wrong, wasn’t paying attention, was just listening to the radio and following my habitual pattern, and didn’t look at the situation until I noticed I was passing you two lanes over.”

He went back to his squad with my license. Came back 2 minutes later and said, “Well it’s your lucky day, sir. My printer isn’t working, so I’m giving you a verbal warning for speeding.”

I thanked him, took my license back, shook his hand, and told him, “PLEASE be safe out there, you’re doing a great job. Thank God for you guys, seriously.”

And that, my friends, is how you trick a crooked cop into lying about his printer.

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