© 2011 Aaron Atkinson

A Rough Morning

When Laura and I started dating she was working on her fifth and final year at the University of Missouri in Columbia. I went to visit her in January and on Sunday afternoon a storm hit. An ice storm. When it finally stopped early on Monday morning everything was glazed in more than an inch of thick, rough ice.

I turned on Laura’s Civic to begin defrosting while I scraped off my sedan. By the time I got to Laura’s car the inside was toasty warm, but the ice was still holding fast. When I finished with the side windows and windshield I moved to the rear window. With the first stroke of ice-busting pressure the ice broke, but so did the windshield. Shattered. Spiderwebbed into a million pieces. But the safety glass held, and aside from a baseball-sized hole, the window held.

On account of the damage I’d caused to her car, I followed Laura home to Kansas City to help ensure her safe arrival.

A few miles West of town, I-70 widened from two to three lanes. Laura was cruising in the middle lane, and I was behind her when break lights started flashing ahead in our lane. Laura merged into the fast lane and I followed. Traffic ahead of her merged over as well as the slow-down domino effect transitioned into our lane. A few hundred feet ahead we learned the reason why. A Missouri state trooper was driving 60 in the middle lane, cruising slowly along, trolling for trouble. As our line of traffic cautiously crawled by the trooper, his lights and sirens flashed to life as he pulled behind my Audi.

I moved across three lanes of highway and slowed onto the shoulder. He stopped behind me. When JD stopped aside my window he asked me if he knew why I’d been pulled over. I did not and told him such. He humphed and walked away with my license and registration. When he returned with my 82 dollar ticket he told me I’d been following too close to the car in front of me.

Following too close to my broken windowed girlfriend to ensure her safety from state troopers who drive dangerously slow on the highway and cause otherwise safe drivers to have to react erratically.

As I merged back into traffic that Monday morning I happened to glance at the clock in my car. It read 11:27 a.m.

It was going to be a long week.

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