Have you ever had that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? That quick shot of adrenaline when you first see that light bar blink red and blue on the highway patrol car as it pulls in behind you? I recently had the pleasure of enjoying this experience. I was on the way to pick up my daughter, son-in-law, and grandbaby from the airport. I was driving their car because it had the car seat for the baby. It was about 9:00 PM; I wasn’t even late. I was just cruising along on the toll way. As soon as he pulled out from the median, I knew he was coming after me. I looked down at my speedometer and quickly came to the realization that this was not going to be pretty. I pulled over and waited for him to saunter up to the door. Here is a brief synopsis of our conversation.
Me: Good evening officer.
Mr. Grumpy: License, registration, and insurance.
Thankfully my kids had everything in the glove compartment for just such an occasion! Everything in order as I handed him all the documentation. (Oh, and thank you officer for shining that blasted flashlight in the side view mirror to blind me; that was a nice touch)
Me: Here you go.
Mr. Grumpy: Do you know why I have stopped you?
Me: I have a pretty good idea but frankly, I wasn’t paying attention and this isn’t my car and I am not used to driving it.
The truth of the matter is, even if I had been in my own car, I probably wouldn’t have been paying attention to the speedometer. I drive by sound and I know what 75 MPH sounds like! (I didn’t tell him that as I don’t think he would have understood and he seemed to be in a mood)
Mr. Grumpy: You were traveling 87 in a 75 mile per hour zone. I will issuing you a citation. I will be back shortly and you can be on your way.
Me: Ummmm…..thank you?
Mr. Grumpy lied. He took his sweet time. He didn’t come back “shortly.” Now, I was late. Oh, and thanks for shining that flashlight in my side view mirror, again. My retinas were just recovering from the first time you did that.
Mr. Grumpy: I have lowered your citation from 87 to 84, which will save you a couple points on your license. Sign here please; it’s not an admission of guilt. You can show up in court next month or send this envelope with your payment. Have a good evening sir. Drive safely and slow down.
Me: Ummmm…..thank you?
As I drove on to the airport and the happy reunion with my kids I fixated on the speedometer. I looked at all the gauges on the dashboard and a strange thought hit me. These gauges are all important and each has a purpose. I really should pay attention to them. When I don’t, the consequence may not be immediate but it can be severe. The gauges are there to give us information. We use them as a set of tools to operate our vehicles and move us down the road, safely and securely. The gauges let us know when something isn’t functioning properly or give us a warning that we need to check on something. The same is true with our own lives. We need to pay attention to our personal gauges.
Are you watching your personal speedometer? Are you keeping your speed in check? Are you in a construction zone and need to be more cautious? Do you need to speed up because you are hindering traffic? Are you overheating? Are you redlining your tachometer? Are you running on empty?
I will leave you with this, regardless of the speed that you travel, you will eventually need to put fuel in the tank. Enjoy your day off. Disconnect from the day to day and enjoy your next vacation. Watch your gas gauge and don’t forget to keep an eye on your speedometer…
Please click here to see other Compass Online Articles.