My heart springs back up, all the
way to my throat this time. I almost
choke up. They coulda ruined my life,
and for good reason, but something
about the old guy and the young
cutie and 2 a.m. and a desperate
all-nighter and no eye-witness and
good humor and a generous spirit
caused them to send us on our
way, with my eternal gratitude.
They follow us at 54mph for a
few minutes, while GHG69 begins to
cackle and chortle and spit doubled
over, while I shoot back, “Shut up!
Shut Up! Act normal. Hush, hush!”
Then they turn off to continue
their watching and protecting, and
I thank them for their service, and
for their kindness that dark, silent
night. It certainly was like Christmas.
GearHeadGirl69 again let loose with
maniacal, bellowing laughter of relief
that lasts for a solid 30 minutes.
This episode cut into our target
55mph average, as did Bay Area
Monday morning rush hour, but the
warm sun came back around, so we
dropped the top and took the 880
freeway. And, yes, she made the flight
home with not a minute to spare.
saying, “Put your money where
your mouth is, Mr. Big Time.”
Well, we haven’t seen a car for miles.
So, I’m in. The first two laps are a little
sloppy, but lap three is utter
drift-fection. GHG69 is cheering and I mutter,
“Let’s get the h*ll outta here!” We
escape down hwy 154 at legal speeds.
About eight minutes later, just when
we figure we pulled it off, the whole
world lights up behind us and my heart
falls to my feet. Busted. This is gonna
be big. Pull to shoulder, interior light
on, license out, “Yes, Mr. Officer?”
“What do you think you’re doing
tearing up my roads?” the sheriff’s
deputy asks. “Honestly, officer, just
screwing around, sorry,” I admit,
beyond sheepish, throwing myself
upon the mercy of the roadside court.
He shakes his head, then squints, and
shines the flashlight right into my face.
“How old are you, anyway?” (Dang
that Florida autocross sun damage).
“Sixty-one, Officer,” I reply, old
enough to know better. He heads
back to his cruiser to check us out.
He returns with his partner at the
passenger window, and GHG69 rolls
it down. Light in her face, he poses
No matter your age
or presumed level
of maturity, in a
moment of weakness
it’s possible to make
a poor decision.
Hopefully you come
out a bit wiser on
the other side.
incredulously, “And who are you?”
Well, she’s half my age, but looks
and seems a third, and she pipes up
cheerfully with the whole story. “We
were racing dirt bikes in Hollister and
I left my suitcase in Santa Barbara
and we’re heading for the airport
in San Fran and he’s a pro driver
who just set the lap record at Willow
Springs and so while it may not have
been right, he wasn’t out of control.”
The officer runs his flashlight down
her leathers to her very muddy boots
and back up to the white Lucas Oil
flag she’s wearing as a cape; and
rolls his eyes. I wait for the ‘cuffs.
Next is a stern lecture about
dangerous driving, followed by the
surprisingly honest fact that they
did not see the actual perpetration.
They just heard it (it’s very quiet
in Central California at 2 a.m.).
And then followed the smell.
Oops. “Yes, so sorry, officers.”
Then they hand back my highly
threatened-species license. “No more
wild driving around Santa Ynez out
of you. Drive carefully. Good night.”
“No, officer. Yes, officer.
Thanks you, officer.”