For the longest period of time, I had been unable to execute certain actions to reform habits in my life. For example, I used to speed all of the time knowing that I would get caught eventually and have to pay another fine, take another driver’s retraining course, and raise my insurance premium some more. Without fail, it always ended up happening. I would be driving through a school zone, going 30, scanning the area, thinking, “How fast am-” and, there’s blues behind me.

Most of the time, these were situations where I wasn’t even intentionally speeding, just on auto-pilot, felt like a 40, was actually a 30, and by the time I looked down I was screwed. Three years ago, I was going down a road in the neighboring town heading to work and was pulled over. 40 in a 30. $100 ticket. Then, two years ago, I was going down the same road and pulled over. 40 in a 30. The cop, puzzled, handed back my identification and apologetically asked, “Nick, you got pulled over about 10 feet down the road doing the same speed exactly a year ago. What’s the reason for speeding?” I explained there wasn’t really any reason and that I always think it’s a 40 even though it’s a 30. He laughed and said because it was such a coincidence that it was the exact day and so close in distance, that he’d let me off this time. I was insanely grateful, as I had never got off any previous tickets (except maybe when I first started driving at 18).

I ended up meeting this cop another two times. The same cop. In very close proximity to the initial ticket. I started feeling like I was living in some odd alternate reality with the consistency of location and cop. On the third time, (because I had a previous driver’s retraining course) I would be required to take another driver’s retraining course and potentially lose my license. The cop suggested that I fight the ticket to avoid that happening because for some reason he had a lot of sympathy for me. I took his advice.

I didn’t know what I’d do to convince them that I couldn’t afford the ticket and so I figured I’d tell the truth: I’m an anxious air-head when driving. I always used to worry about the people behind me so I’d speed up as to not hinder their movement. I’d leave for appointments and work exactly on time or sometimes late and would try to beat the time by speeding. With all of these thoughts in mind, I decided I’d start trying to reform my behavior so by the time the court date came around I’d have some evidence that I cared.

So, first, I began allotting more time to traveling between anything. Next, I’d search for the speed limit sign of any road and begin repeatedly saying it in my head, “30 mph, 30 mph, 30 mph.” I’d say it three times, at least, because that’s the amount it usually takes for any human to remember something. Finally, I started specifically chanting, “30 mph” in my head the moment I left my house to go to work and when I left work to go home. I truly felt reformed by the time court came around. I began to plead my case and the District Attorney interrupted, looked at me, tilted her head, and said, “Well, it doesn’t look like you’ve done much to reform your behavior, based on your driving record…”

Even though it hurt, she was right. I drove like a complete idiot for most of my life. So, I owned up to it. I explained what I had done to reform my driving, such as chanting in my head “30 mph,” and allotting more time to travel between anything. She obliged and put me on probation. I felt so relieved. All I had to do was not get a speeding ticket until July (it was a 6 month probation). I ended up making it past probation, effectively not paying the ticket, and have continued good driving behavior since.

I decided I’d start applying the power of threes to every other aspect of my life, rather than just driving. The latest thing I’ve been chanting is “accelerate, accelerate, accelerate.”

accelerate

Every year, this time is peaked with anxiety. Everybody has a different reason but it usually has to do with people being present or not. Or too many or too few. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to step back and see that, few or many, we’re here.

We’re sitting on the couch, eating too much, and drinking excessive alcohol. We’re indulging in gifts, people’s smiles, and their newest deep insight. We’re here. That’s the most important part of this time of year.

It’s a beautiful thing to step back in your mind just so far to see what’s in front of you. It’s sometimes so easy to slip into cynical comatose and derange yourself into an absurdist’s paradise of abstraction. Instead, sip your coffee more slowly, love your significant others more deeply, and recognize your thoughts inside as much as you recognize the floor below your feet. Take your time. Cheers!

Yeah, it’s probably an old subject but it’s a worthwhile one. I’ve realized this in the past, but not to the degree that this week has revealed. Mind you, I am well aware that I live in Northeastern United States in an industrialized nation of individual freedoms that are noble in their cause and extensive in their nature. I am well aware that I drive a Hyundai Elantra that is a fuel efficient car, I am capable of writing this blog (so I have both of my tangible limbs), I can see, smell, hear, taste, and talk, I don’t have a terminal illness, I don’t have bills because I live with my parents, I have a smart phone, I have food, shelter, and essentially a good life.

I get it. That being said, stress is still a benefactor in even the best lives, so what better way to vent than to write a giant blog post acknowledging your ignorance and still illustrating a perfectly beautiful picture of human turmoil that reeks?

Well, that’s what I’m about to do.

I got a speeding ticket a little under a month ago and just paid it off about a week ago. I felt good doing it. I thought: “I broke the law by going 70 on the highway,” and then in a burst of spiteful subconscious thought, “even though everyone fucking goes 70 on the highway,” but then continued, “so I ought to pay this fine to show that I acknowledge the laws and acknowledge my infraction.” Fair enough. I paid it, $100 down the drain. The next day I got a letter from the RMV. Those letters, capitalized, and in that sequence send chills down everyone’s back. But, this time, I thought, “Well, looky here, they’re sending me a letter of recognition that I was a good Samaritan and paid my dues for breaking the law, how kind!” Nope.

In the most formal way and with the most formal font, the letter read, “You are hereby notified that the Registry of Motor Vehicles intends to suspend your license,” the rest of the letter really isn’t necessary to read. You can see the natural disparity in thought: “I paid my $100 dollar ticket, so they want to suspend my license?!” Oh, but it makes perfect sense, see, if I had known the laws and recollected on the past two years of my driving, I would have found that I had three surcharges within a two-year period. They give me two options to get out of this suspension of license that are nice.
1) Take a driver’s retraining course for a measly $125 for eight hours one day or four hours split between two days

2) Commit suicide
(this wasn’t a formal option, but the other option was to go to a hearing in which the only thing disputed would be the charges and since they’ve already convicted me on the charges over the past two years, the option they’re really giving you is figurative suicide)

So, I chose the first option. This past week I spent $350 on a parking pass at school. So, that’s two weeks of pay down the drain between a parking pass, a speeding ticket, and a driver’s retraining course. Sweet.

There are two other issues that are largely a reason why I’m writing this post, but half way through this post, I realized something. Humanity sucks precisely because of posts like this.

EDIT: The funniest part about this is that I decided against publishing this post until now when I had initially written this post about two years earlier.

cognitive
d i s s o n a n c e
plays the role of
m e s s e n g e r
ignorant and spiteful
toward the recipient of its
t r a v e l s
the peculiar
f a s h i o n
it walks
a i m l e s s l y
toward the recipient of its
ignorant and spiteful
t r a v e l s

- n.v.