Monday, November 17, 2008

the driving bowl

preface: i got a speeding ticket on highway 16 on the way to denver (nc - which is about as strange as if i had said colorado). the state trooper was in fact somewhat forgiving, knocking the 77 in a 55 a 70 in a 55 which "gave me options." my options:

1. admit guilt, pay fine, accept points on license and watch my insurance premium increase

2. hire a lawyer

3. attend defensive driving school at gaston college to ask the court for a prayer for judgement, avoid the points, premium increase, etc.

i opted for #3


so i scheduled myself for class on a monday - noon until 5. i armed myself with a stack of trade magazines and a full charge on my iphone anticipating much texting and emailing as i sat slyly in the back row of class.


ha. wishful thinking. i was greeted immediately by the instructor who said i could just make myself comfortable at the seat front & center and she would be with me shortly to get me started on the paperwork. so much for the back row and on to the paperwork. this was going to suck eggs.


let me pause and give you a visual on ms. carson - the instructor. i suppose i thought she was going to look like the people at the DMV - you know, like selma and patty. not so - ms. carson's outfit may have been swiped right of the manniquin at chicos, hairstyle somewhat gravity defying (but she had a headband which i am still not sure of its purpose), pendant necklace perhaps from the jewelry department at steinmart and a charm bracelet with a few initials and a silver stop light. i didn't actually notice the stop light until about an hour in to the class, but it remains one of my favorite details.


we spent the entire first hour filling out our paperwork which in fact was not very involved at all. but ms carson is very thorough - explaining every painstaking detail possible to be sure everything was done correctly (she showed us step by step how to paperclip our things together - no joke). but i quickly realized that attendees at defensive driving school are not necessarily the sharpest tacks. in fact, this easily could have been the highest form of education some of my classmates had acheived. i know, call me a snob, but it was the truth. they actually had questions after everything has been explained, reexplained and then clarified.


i was miserable. she was throwing out about every cliche in the book with eye winks and side whispers a la sarah palin. she was going to teach this class using some unconventional (side look) and maybe even shocking (wink) methods. she was going to take us completely outside of the box (look of shock like the kid from home alone). in fact, we may just be the one teaching ourselves (raised eyebrow). but it was about this time that i realized that this lady really loved what she was doing. i think it was this statement that turned it around for me.


"do you guys, ahem, and girls, like football? well, i am going to be your defensive driving coordinator and i am going to take you all the way to the driving bowl. now, it is going to take until 5pm to get there, but i promise i will get you there fast - without speeding of course."


now, if you have ever met someone from gaston county, please insert heavy southern accent from here on out. the written word does NOTHING for the spoken words of ms. carson - the drawl, the pauses, the intonations were nothing short of awesome. if she were reading this she would say, "love that emily..." accommpanied by a wink, side look and sly smile.


so what i am saying is that ms. carson won me, and the entire class that clearly did not want to be there over. in to hour two we were all enthusiastically raising hands to answer questions in hopes of affirmation and praise. i mean, seriously, we were out there to impress our defensive driving coach.


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