Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Renegade in the Tahoe

I ran a stoplight this morning. That means I drove through when the light was on red. Just in case there was any doubt. It was a deliberate, premeditated act. I was not apprehended. I was not even chased. Though I cannot say I was without witnesses. And accomplices.

My life of crime began around 6:50 a.m. The Pony and I had just entered the Backroads city limits. I reined in T-Hoe to a respectable 30 mph. Just like the sign commanded. Also, that section passes by the mini-mall that used to house the police department. Two school buses pulled out from a side street and beat me to the traffic light. There were a couple of other vehicles already waiting. As I neared the intersection, the last bus went through. But I had a red light. So I stopped. I was not yet a criminal.

The line to my left got its turn. They had just come off the highway exit. I imagine some were heading to the drive-thru liquor store that seems to do a good business every morning. There was no line to my right, because that's the on ramp that heads up to the highway. The oncoming cars got their turn next. A few made lefts with their arrow, crossing in front of me to reach their highway access. Others came straight through. Then their light turned red. I know that, because they all stopped. It was now my line's turn. OR WAS IT?

The line to my left got the green arrow again! I could see it, and they again proceeded from their highway exit ramp toward the drive-thru liquor store area. WHEN WAS MY TURN? I had waited at least two whole minutes. And that's not even a two-minute light. More like 30 seconds. Again, the oncoming line had their turn. Stopped. Nobody was moving. There were no cars in the oncoming left turn lane.


Fair is fair. My line was skipped on two turns. Traffic was piling up behind me. It happened a few weeks ago coming from the other direction, with a left-turn arrow. Cars honked, and veered into a parking lot to cut through the light. I was in no mood for that this morning. I took my chances. Funny how the line of traffic behind me followed like I was some Pied Piper of Poor Driving Skills. The next two lights worked. Meaning that they were green, and I drove right through them. The better to make my getaway. It also helped that another school bus was directly behind me, defending my rear flank. I almost had me a convoy, rollin' through the morning, though short of 11 long-haired friends of Jesus in a chartreuse microbus.

After weaving up the side street by the funeral home, and down in front of the dead-mouse-smelling post office, and up the wide rich-house street to go past the lake...I was pretty much in the clear. I narrowly avoided a long rock-hauler and a reckless dump truck rounding a bridge curve near the shooting range at 50 mph instead of the intermittently-enforced 20 mph. That extra time at the red light might have been a deciding factor to avoiding smashage. I came out to the main road by the bank that shorts my mom $10 and won't cash her dividend check, I saw by their clock that I was exactly two minutes behind schedule.

Good thing I broke the law. Today was my duty day. It doesn't pay to be late on duty day. A call goes over the intercom, in the principal's voice: "I AM ON DUTY IN THE (parking lot/cafeteria/gym/hall) BECAUSE THE TEACHER WHO IS SCHEDULED IS NOT." Which is a signal for all the teachers to grab their handbooks and look up whose turn it is. For future blackmail material.

I might still be sitting at that red light now if I had not taken traffic into my own hands and foot.


  1. Ooooh, you teachers are a bunch of evil-spirited educators.

    At MY school, we all get along like peanut butter and jelly.

    Okay, it's more like jelly and toast.

    Okay, it's really more like a loaf of burnt, charred, crumbly toast...

  2. If the light changes a few times without accommodating you it's okay to cautiously proceed through the intersection, in my opinion. If the light is broken, which it probably was, you could theoretically sit there forever.

  3. Hey Val ~ Love your description of the entire episode, as I always do. A similar thing happened to me recently and it was such an odd feeling, because other than that one, it had been YEARS since a light wouldn't let me proceed. I was about the fourth car in the line to make a left hand turn, and watched all the other lanes get their turns, and a repeat turn. They weren't short lights, either, so it was taking forever. When the third time came around, I checked my passenger side mirror, no cars were in the way, and I whipped out of there and flew across the intersection. BUT, I didn't do it during a red was green for the "go straight through"...and still red in the "left hand turn." I felt so freed and liberated! :)

  4. In NJ a light would have flashed, a photo would be taken and you would receive a ticket in the mail...probably could fight it and win, but a pain in the butt.

  5. I too have participated in this type of civil disobedience. Smart women are fearless. Kudos, red light runner.

  6. Hi Joeh, yeah we have those cameras here, too, but not at every stoplight. But, who knows? Maybe Val will find out she's very photogenic when breaking the law! LOL ...(Just kiddin', Val. I certainly don't want you to get a ticket!)

  7. A lot of those kind of lights are actuated by video. Maybe the camera couldn't detect the stealth Tahoe. You need to make sure its invisibility cloak is de-activated after you drive past the police station at the mini mall.

  8. Sioux,
    I call you a fibber, Madam! Everybody knows that the words "peanut" and "school" cannot be mentioned in the same sentence these days. I hope you have a second career simmering on the back burner, now that your teaching license in hurtling down the pike towards revocation.

    Thanks for supporting me, Sir, though I find that insouciant inclusion of "probably" a bit troubling...

    So you're only half a criminal. Don't worry. You probably won't get hauled halfway to the police station.

    Well, thank goodness you included PROBABLY!

    I hear ya, Sister! I'll be Thelma (because I'm taller), and you'll be Louise (because you're the brains).

    We all know I'm probably very photogenic, in spite of that wench who took the worst picture in the history of the DMV and slapped it on my driver's license.

    I'm surprised my crime was not captured by Google Earth Street View Crime Scene Investigation and is not making the viral video rounds by now.