Have you ever in your life broken the law? Even a little break of a little law?
(Pause for a few great stories. I wish I could hear what’s happening in your head right now.)
Feel free to share the incriminating details below–if nothing else, to teach us all a lesson. Because that’s what I’m about to do.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, I got a ticket for making an illegal u-turn. This was because I didn’t see the sign…and that was because I was first in line at the stoplight, and the “no u-turn” sign was to my left and so high up, it wasn’t visible to the first car at the intersection. I thought I had a case, especially since my husband Ben had recently gotten out of his ticket by appearing and humble and respectful before the judge.
So I took pictures, got my little speech ready, dressed up in my most humble and respectful looking clothes, and headed off to court. When it was my turn, the judge was not interested in my story, nor was he interested in my pictures. “The sign’s there for a reason,” he said cruelly and inhumanely.
And I had a choice: pay the money or be sentenced to traffic school.
I won’t lie, I was tempted to pay the money and run, since I had just spent ALL DAY waiting to be seen for 90 seconds in traffic court. But then I thought, “Why not? I’ve never been to traffic school; it could actually be kinda fun. And I’ve always loved school; I might even learn a few things. It could be an adventure.”
So a few days later I trotted across town and mentally prepped myself for a day of knowledge acquisition.
The driving school was owned by two lovely ladies, “Thelma” and “Louise” whose job it was to put in one very old videotape after another all day long. We saw video tapes about Driving While Drowsy, about Alcohol and Driving, about What Can Happen When You Speed. By about 11:45, while we were watching the Communication tape (circa 1990, that warned us about the dangers of using CB radios and enormous “car phones,” on a cord in a bag), I looked around the room to see how my fellow prisoners were holding up.
They had gone from catatonic (at the beginning of the tape) to comatose, draped all over the furniture in various states of unconsciousness.
That’s when “Thelma” came out of the bathroom with a piece of dental floss in her hand, and started talking…a little bit about traffic, but mostly about herself. (She hates cold weather, stopped smoking 14 days ago, knows lots of police officers, never gets tickets—wink, wink—and is currently breezing through menopause with a minimum of hot flashes.)
“Louise” took over the videotape insertion duties in the afternoon. She told us a little bit about driving, but mostly about her adventures riding along with the city police. One of the students—whose CB handle was Foxy Lady back in the day—also enjoyed regaling us with her adventures as a majorette in high school. Then other folks chimed in with their life stories, and before we knew it, it was time to take the test.
This made us nervous because, out of the previous eight hours, we’d had about ten minutes of real instruction.
The test, as it turned out, was the one that folks take to get their learner’s permits. We looked it over and discovered that most of the questions were about things that were not covered in the Thelma and Louise School of Driving. But Thelma put our minds at ease when she let us “grade” our own tests, and said, “Don’t worry about your answers. If it were me, I’d be getting ALL of ‘em right!” (wink, wink)
And so ended our day: everybody, of course, “passed.” Good grief.
But in spite of everything, am I glad I said, “Why not?” to this little adventure?
Absolutely, yes. Because I
- saved money
- maintained my flawless driving record, and
- learned that driving school is not about instruction; it is not about acquiring knowledge. It is, however, all about punishment. It is, in reality, detention for adult teenagers, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
And because of that little adventure, I will never, ever break the law again. Ever.
That’s worth a lot.
I know this because a few years earlier, I got stopped for speeding, and just paid the fine. Obviously, that little lesson didn’t stick. This little lesson, however, did, and all because of a “Why not?”
So how about you?
Has an opportunity landed in your lap to have even a small adventure, and your first inclination is to do the comfortable thing, the easy thing…and say, “Nah,” followed by a litany of reasons why it would be way too inconvenient?
Maybe you have an opportunity–even a fleeting one– to
try something new,
try something old in a new way.
Fun, joy, benevolence, life change…Who knows how different your world–even THE world–could become if you answered the call with a “Why not?”
And maybe a wink, wink on the side…
And, if you’re just joining us, check out the very first post (Your Epic Adventure Starts Here), where you’ll learn about starting a yearlong (52 questions) quest to practice living a life of adventure. As a bonus, you will also find the backstory for that ridiculous herd of buffalo on the header photo of this website…