ENC Writing Assignment #3

This is a composition that I did for my English Comp class a bit ago about the final straw that led to my getting rid of my Yamaha FZR-600 several years ago.

I have had a reckless youth, which in retrospect seems to have led into a reckless young adulthood. When I was twenty-one years old I purchased my self a new racing style motorbike. I have always had an affinity for speed, and this really fed into that desire.

I spent many Saturday nights watching my speedometer and tachometer sweep across the instrument panel in a frenzied scurry of precise mechanical choreography. To fast never seemed to be fast enough. Watching the speedometer race past one hundred miles per hour with no chance of slowing released a feeling of elation and complete freedom.

I would look forward to every open stretch of road that I knew there wouldn’t be police officers anywhere near. But this didn’t always work out in my favor, as very frequently I would round a bend in the road, or crest a hill with insufficient time to decelerate before I was trapped in the invisible beam of a radar gun. Some times they wouldn’t even bother pulling me over but would give me a signal to slow it down. And that would keep me in line for a few days, but never longer than that.

This hedging the line went on for many months until finally I got caught and had no way out. A regular ticket wouldnt even suffice for the officer who regaled in my capture.

It all happened a late Wednesday night in late March. I was on my way home from work after a particularly stressful day and I wanted to blow off some steam. I aimed my motorbike towards the interstate for a little high-speed distraction from my work place induced stress. I began accelerating as I approached the on-ramp. I had settled on what I felt, at the time, was a moderate rate of speed. I gently coaxed the screaming machine into a fast paced sweeping turn. I finished the turn with a quick burst of speed onto the interstate and gradually eased back down to a more civilized tempo.

I had progressed several miles down the road when my exit approached. I peeled off the main thoroughfare and onto the exit ramp. I pulled over to the side of the road about fifty feet before the traffic light so that I could remove my leather glove and attempt to detach a kamikaze insect from my eyeball. As I did this I thought that this was just the finishing touch to an otherwise miserable day.

Little did I expect what I saw when I glanced over my shoulder to ensure no wayward motorist was looking for a new Yamaha hood ornament. Rapidly approaching the exit ramp was a police cruiser with its red and blue light show fully engaged. A torrent of thoughts streamed through my head. I thought he surely couldn’t be after me I haven’t been speeding for the past several minutes, and besides I would have seen him if he was part of a speed trap. I leaned back over my motorbike in a vain attempt at pretending that I was nowhere near his agenda for this evening only to be removed from my brief disillusionment by the anti-lock brakes telltale chirping as he decelerated from what must have been a phenomenal rate of speed.

I immediately knew that things would not ever be the same for me. I only had time to reach up and turn off the engine before I had my arm pinned up behind my back and my face pinned uncomfortably close to the gas tank. I never really realized how painful it could be to have someone else remove your helmet, especially without unfastening the chinstrap.

Before I could comprehend what was going on I found myself in the back of the officer’s patrol car. He asked me if I knew how fast I had been going. I replied that I did not believe I was doing more than ninety. He then informed me that he had radar of me at 120 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone. This quickly deteriorated into my polite disagreement with him and my statement that the 45mph zone is in a turn and that if I was indeed going that fast I should pursue a different career. I was then on the receiving end of my Miranda rights.

Several months later after I sold my motorbike, paid all the court fines, and attended the tortuous driver improvement course, I realized while riding my bicycle home from my job, that getting pulled over was possibly the best thing that could have happened to me at the time. It was a much gentler reminder to be more cautious that getting into a terrible accident, or worse.

Through my court mandated non-motorized rehabilitation period I learned a lot of things about my self. Mainly that I am not invulnerable to consequences and that I need to make better decisions, and importantly that I can have fun without traveling so fast that my hair catches on fire. I have been an avid bicyclist since this experience (now 9 years ago) and have competed in several road races as well as many triathlons.