Today I got a speeding ticket, my first speeding ticket in over 20 years. I was up in the canyons near Malibu, test-driving a very fast Mitsubishi Eclipse (like the red car in the photo, only gray), and that’s when the horrible crime took place.
No, I’m not planning to buy a Mitsubishi Eclipse, and if I was interested in one, there seems to be a Mitsubishi dealer here in Torrance, so I’d be good to go. Or, in the case of today, good to go fast.
I was participating in a marketing research survey. Being the proud parents of a Mini Cooper, we seem to get invited to that kind of thing a lot. Usually I don’t go, but they were paying $250, so I figured it’d be fun and lucrative. It was fun and lucrative, but now I have a criminal record.
I got to test drive a Mazda RX-8 (the gray thing on the left), a Volkswagen GTI (the gray thing on the right), and the aforementioned nuclear-powered Mitsubishi Eclipse.
The three research guys and I spent 2-3 hours driving these three cars, as well as my own Mini, and they’d ask me a lot of repetitive questions: “Would you say this car is fun to drive?” “What do you think of when you think of the phrase ‘fun to drive?'” “Can you tell us what, if anything, is fun to drive about this car?”
They also made me perform various maneuvers in the cars which involved speed, and that’s where I got in trouble. It would take too long to describe all they asked me to do, but there were various things involving testing the accelleration to various speeds, and then telling them how I felt about it (most of the time, I felt pretty cool about driving new expensive cars at fast speeds, on cool open roads. That’s how I felt.)
It was during one of these feel-good moments when I wondered, “Why is that Highway Patrol guy making a U-turn?” When I saw his flashing lights in the very small, sporty mirror of the Mitsubishi, I understood why.
I thought of all kinds of excuses, like – this isn’t my car and I can’t possibly be expected to keep the speed down, or, these research guys hypnotized me with their magic research mojo stuff, or, there’s actual nuclear power under this hood and if it goes below 64 mph, the City of Malibu will become a giant mushroom cloud, mister.
But, I decided not to bother. For one thing, this cop was serious and didn’t seem like he was in the mood for my excuses. But there was another reason – there have been about a billion times when I should have gotten pulled over for speeding, but didn’t. So even though I could possibly have made a case for getting out of this one, the truth is, I’m pretty stinkin’ guilty of lots of miscellaneous speeding over the years.
Finally, it turned out that the Highway Patrol guy decided to record my actual speed (69 in a 50mph zone) as “69mph in a 65mph zone.” Apparently, they have that kind of leeway to make adjustments in the speed limit, which will, in his words, “decrease your fine considerably.”
That’s good – I think fines should be decreased considerably. But I also think speed, particularly in cool cars on cool open roads, should be increased considerably!