One of the surprising things about driving is the endless thinking that goes on when you’re trapped in what is essentially a fast moving tin can with windows. Because 60 mph is too fast to be with your environment, life shrinks to those few seats in the car. If you’re alone, there’s no more escaping you, and the pondering begins. Chicken soup for the soul, I tell you. Imagine Nietzsche would have been driving around instead of snorting coke; o, the wonders it would have done for his confused little soul.
Recently, a new and terrifying thought occurred to me while driving, that has been haunting me since. You see, I used to watch quite some police chasing series in the Netherlands. From a dashboard camera, you see someone running a red light, the police chases them for a minute and then politely explain what happened. It is somewhat different from watching Cops, because for our more exiting police chases, we watch montages of American police work. However, over those years of watching the show, I have learned how it works to be pulled over: the police bust you doing something you shouldn’t be doing, they follow you around, start driving in front of you, get you to follow them, and lead you to a safe place to stop away from the highway.
My terrifying thoughts were as follows: if I were to be pulled over, the obviously American police would follow me, expect me to pull over immediately so he could yell at me wearing sunglasses and tapping his boots with his eager beating stick. I’m afraid this isn’t even the bad part. Here, instead, are the two worst-case scenarios I keep playing in my mind:
1. I do not realize the police car behind me is trying to get me to stop. As they are not driving in front of me, it is not me they’re after, I think naively. In the meantime, the agitated officer behind me thinks I’m fleeing the scene, puts his sunglasses firmly on top of his head, grunts, and requests back up and permission to shoot on sight.
2. I gladly remember he means business with me, but panic and go into Dutch mode: find a parking lot where we can discuss things appropriately. Stopping on the highway is dangerous after all, so I’ll drive to a safe location. The officer sees I’m taking an exit, thinks I’m fleeing the scene, puts his sunglasses firmly on top of his head, grunts, and requests back up and permission to shoot on sight.
This, kids, is why I always drive the speed limit. Sometimes that worries me, too, because I’ve heard that could be suspicious as well. If only Nietzsche knew the answers.