I’ve always been a fairly slow driver. Back when I had friends, some of them called me “Granny Danny.” I didn’t mind the nickname, and look back on it fondly.

Of course I have had my share of speeding tickets … three I think.

I got one when I was in my early twenties. I was on my way to work at K-Mart. It was early in the morning the day after the Fourth of July. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and not another car on the road. I guess I was feeling pretty good, just listening to my music and be-bopping along. Wouldn’t you know it the first car I passed was a state trooper who clocked me doing a whopping 72 miles per hour. I got my first ticket, and I was late to work. 

I got another ticket many years later. I had dropped Michael off at Ranger School an hour or two before. After getting lost after dark on Fort Benning, I finally made it back to Alabama and was well on my way home. For some reason I was driving Michael’s Audi, which was very different from the old Dodge Nitro I was accustomed to. You could be going 100 and feel like you were floating along at a slow 50. This time they got me for doing 80. The cop asked me for my insurance and I told him it was my husband’s car and I didn’t have it. He asked me couldn’t I just call him? “No. I just dropped him off at Ranger School,” I told him, hoping to get a little sympathy.  He didn’t seem to care, and went on to ask me if I had any terrorists hiding in the back seat. This line of questioning annoyed me for months to come, and annoys me still as I think about it again for the first time in a long while. I guess he couldn’t have known that I had dropped Michael off at Ranger School only a very little time after he got home from Afghanistan (which he left for two weeks after we got married!). I cried, and I got my second ticket.

A year or two later I was cruising through a little town somewhere between here and Phenix City, and the blue lights got me again. I don’t remember how fast I was going, but I think it was one of those situations where the speed limit was really low and I was just trying to get the long trip over with. That was my third ticket, and coincidentally  Michael got two tickets in the exact same place later on. 

I got to thinking about the tickets I’d received this morning after an 18-wheeler was bearing down on my car on John T. Reid Parkway. I hate driving on that road. The speed limit is too high on that little stretch between all the doctors offices and Ollies. 

I find cars riding my bumper more and more often these days. I try to have sympathy for these poor souls who are driving like bats out of you know what. Maybe they are in a big hurry, I think. Then I think, well they should have left earlier. Of course it’s been such a long time since I’ve been in a hurry for anything I can’t relate and I feel guilty for judging. 

I just can’t help but feel a certain aggression coming from people in sports cars and big trucks as they inch closer and closer to my tailgate. I can almost hear them cussing. I swear the other day someone in a big truck honked at me because I wasn’t pulling out fast enough for him at a red light. Another big truck in a different lane was blocking my view, though, and I wasn’t interested in getting myself and my kids smashed just to sooth his impatience. 

I hate to say it, but Scottsboro really is getting too big and busy for me. I guess I’m better off sticking to the outskirts here where a car only comes along every two or three hours. 

I guess all I can do is force myself to go the speed limit, which is a struggle sometimes because on a good day I’m really most comfortable at around 50 miles per hour on Highway 35 and 60 on Highway 72.

Now that I’ve said all this, just watch me get a ticket this week. 

Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at danielle.w.kirkland@gmail.com.

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