Feb 24, 2014 17:03 Getting up to speed in a small town Getting up to speed in a small town by duane smith| Special to The Advocate Feb. 24, 2014 Comments Add me to the list of people who have made a revenue donation to a small town on Highway 190. I don’t want to name names, but my contribution went to the town between Baton Rouge and Opelousas that advertises a “rest area.” I guess it does qualify as a town, if you count two parking spots, a picnic bench and a blue portable toilet. As a frequent traveler of Highway 190, I was familiar with the speed limit fluctuations and had resorted to using my cruise control to assure I don’t fall into a “trap” during any of the transitions. Alas, on this particular day, after I had passed through the town, I started accelerating about six nanoseconds too soon. The lights of the squad car started their dance, and I quickly pulled over, hoping this would be a short conversation. The officer, who may have shaved twice in his life, approached my car and my first thought was, “Wow! This town must have some kind of high school career development program! Good for them!” Both of us were very courteous as he let me know that I started my acceleration too soon and he would need to run my information. As he goes back to his car, I’m listing all of the things I have in my favor. First, I haven’t been pulled over in 28 years, so surely that would count for something. Second, I’m driving the company’s maroon Taurus — not some bright red shiny sports car. No siree, a maroon Taurus that would need an hour glass to measure zero to 60. Third, all of this gray hair on my head HAS to remind him of his grandfather and certainly he wouldn’t write a ticket to his own grandfather. Fourth, I have one of those blue and black decals on my rear window. Originally I had no clue what it meant. I assumed the guy who drove it before me came from some foreign country and wanted to display his heritage, but I later found out that it means “friends of the police” or something along those lines. Wonder what’s taking so long? The officer awakened me from my self-fulfillment handing me a rectangular cardboard sheet and asking for my signature. Seriously? 28 years? … Maroon Taurus? … Sticker on the back? Are you KIDDING ME? 53 in a 45? Stay calm, I say to myself. They obviously haven’t gotten to the “let people off with a warning” session in his high school development course. This story doesn’t have a happy ending. My local mayor, amused by my predicament, did write a letter on my behalf, and I added my own letter extolling my virtues, to no avail. I ended up contributing $155 to the town. I hope they put it to good use but, knowing my luck, they used it to clean out the portable toilet at the rest area. Advocate readers may submit stories of about 500 words to the Human Condition at firstname.lastname@example.org or The Advocate, EatPlayLive, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810. There is no payment, and stories will be edited.