That fucker gave me a speeding ticket. I mean, I was speeding, but not by a lot! At the bottom of a hill! Right before the speed limit increased! And I was… I don’t know, feeling lucky?
In any case, this morning I dragged myself out of bed on a Saturday to get to traffic school. I was second to last in line behind a giant of a man who was wearing an army hat and walking with a limp. He had a kind face and held the door for me. We filed in with the group and sat in the court room, the same room where the hearings were held. Our instructor was a bubbly woman who seemed generally bemused by us. We like her ragtag team of bad drivers and by God, we were gonna make it to playoffs this year.
The first half hour of the class was an overview of the painfully basic rules of the class: Please stay for the entirety of class. No smoking marijuana during restroom breaks, or anything else that didn’t come from Kroger’s– the tobacco area, not the aisles, she specified. No drinking alcohol during the breaks. If you chew gum, please refrain from putting it under the seat. No reading outside material (I put my textbook away, indignant).
She called us up to sign in and one woman happened to be very pregnant, carrying low. “She’s about to drop that baby,” I thought. In any case, she signed in and I signed in. I’d only had a few hours of sleep the night before, so I sat back and started to nod off. Me and the guy across the row were STRUGGLING. They made him take his belt off at the metal detector and when he came back into the room, his pants were falling down. Then his heel slipped out of his shoe and he couldn’t seem to wake up long enough to get the laces right. He didn’t seem drunk, just exhausted; I wondered if he was a shift worker. Closer to the lectern, an emaciated trio started heading out for one last smoke as everybody got their names on the Very Important Paper. On their way back in I noticed that one of the women had a dowager’s hump despite being in her late 30’s. I don’t know what her deal was, but I’ll go out on a limb and make this PSA: Meth is a terrible drug, kids.
After that short break we started the class in earnest. Together, as a group (I’d like to think), we discovered that after a decade of touchy-feely traffic school curriculum, Kentucky has reinstated the gruesome car crash videos. These weren’t American, they had to order these in. I was seriously unsettled, and (while you’ll have to take my word for it), that’s not easily done. After a few videos, the gentleman who had held the door for me walked up to the instructor and told her without affect “I’m a veteran. I have PTSD. I can’t watch this.,” and he walked out to collect himself. The instructor was on the verge of tears, I was crying, she had to turn around and collect herself so we could get on with class. After a moment, we did.
About 2 hours into the 4 hours class, the heavily pregnant woman went into labor. She wasn’t faking it, and she wasn’t about to leave before she got her license situation straightened out. She didn’t complain, either, just sat there trying to breathe evenly. The only lady who complained was the 60-something woman with kidney-failure ankles who complained about people tailgating her on the expressway when she went exactly the speed limit. Pandemonium crept in around the edges of the scene, tensions rose, I almost got to yell “ORDER IN THE COURT”. But I didn’t. I didn’t even make it for the gavel. I just rolled my eyes, I couldn’t help it.
Moral of the story: drive until you hit a sea of humanity, then swim.