By Jan Stadtherr
As I knock my wooden desk, I can boast that I have never received a speeding ticket or any other traffic ticket. I do have a heavy foot and have been lucky in the over 50 years I have been driving. I have received four written warnings, but it’s been nearly 20 years that I’ve had one in my hand.
In the past four months, I’ve done a lot more driving as my husband has an eye problem. He’s been doctoring in the cities, which is not one of my favorite destinations to drive in. I have to admit I’ve taken Ron on some adventurous drives for which I should have received a citation(s). Three incidences happened within a 10-minute span. Let the story begin . . .
During our frequent trips to the cities, we have stayed with my daughter and husband, who live in the Uptown area of Minneapolis near Hennepin Avenue. It was time to head for home. I was going to make a left turn onto Hennepin. The light turned green and I continued to watch for traffic coming from the right, not noticing the female pedestrian who was crossing the street. If Ron, who is usually Mr. Cool & Calm, hadn’t yelled, “Look out!” I may have hit her.
Understandably, the woman held her arms up and gave me the dirtiest look, which I deserved. I mouthed, “I’m sorry,” to her and continued to make the turn.
As my heart returned to its normal rhythm, and two blocks further, Ron calmly said, “Well, you just went through a red light. What else will go wrong?” I didn’t realize it if he hadn’t told me. I thought to myself that nothing else will go wrong. I’ll be fine.
I like driving on the interstate more than I do maneuvering the crowded city streets. I knew I was approaching the split exit to Interstate 94 and 394 that would finally get us out of the cities. However, as we neared the exits, I suddenly realized I was in the wrong lane to exit onto 94. Not wanting to go on 394, Ron again had to raise his voice to alert me. I glanced in the side mirror. There were no cars approaching so I quickly turned right, driving over a low median dividing the two exits. Breathing a sigh of relief, we made the trip home with no other scary episodes from this blonde driver.
Yes, I deserved the dirty look from the woman, and probably a ticket for not yielding to a pedestrian, and for the red light I ignored, and for careless driving when trying to get onto 94 rather than 394. But I was relieved and thankful there were no cops to witness my blunders.
But another surprise was that no vehicle blasted its horn at me within that short time!
But wait, there’s more, unfortunately. During another drive in the cities at night, I listened carefully to Alexa or Siri, or whoever is speaking to me through the Bluetooth GPS. I wanted to take the ramp in order to get on to Highway 100. Approaching the ramps, there were two red “Don’t Enter One Way” signs between the two enter and exits for 100. Which one do I take?
There weren’t any vehicles in sight (for a change) so I went up the second of the two ramps. Midway up the ramp, I decided I was going up the wrong ramp. There was a turnoff to the side. I told Ron that I was going to turn around quickly before I met any cars coming down the ramp. I backed up quickly, not noticing the cement wall behind me which I hit. Ron said a few words as I drove back down the ramp and met a car blasting its horn at me. I wouldn’t have had to turn around as I was going up the correct ramp! In the meantime, I was mad at myself and apologized to Ron for the scratched up back end that the body shop repaired and made it look like new.
Believe it or not, I still consider myself a good driver. Want to go for a ride with me?