Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Speed Limit Enforced By Aircraft"

My imagination sometimes gets carried away.

When I was almost four, my mother tried to explain to me that a little girl who was coming to visit with us for a few weeks came from a more urban area than we did. She mentioned that the girl was excited to stay with us, because she didn’t have a backyard, so it would be fun for her to get to play in one, particularly one with a pool.

Well, I stopped listening after “doesn’t have a backyard.” Because, for whatever reason, all I could picture in conjunction with this statement was a large house set aways from the sidewalk. There was a concrete path leading up to the front door. And woe was you if you strayed off that path. Because in place of a yard, the house was surrounded by a dark abyss. One wrong step and you’d be falling into a never-ending hole.

It was years before I fully comprehended that “no backyard” did not translate to “endless black hole.” And during that time, I was, needless to say, quite terrified for the sake of that girl.

Well, I found out on my road trip this weekend, that while I may be decades removed from the above incident, my thought process still works the same way.

There are patches of road which sport signage proclaiming, “Speed Limit Enforced By Aircraft.” And every single time we rambled past one of these signs, I would picture new ways that aircraft might enforce the speed limit. Perhaps the moment that your car inched above the speed limit, the aircraft would come out from behind the trees, drop grappling hooks down on your car and lift you off the highway. Or maybe you’d be speeding along and glance in your rearview, only to see a stealth bomber flying behind you with some sirens going. Then there was the thought that these pilots must get really sick of spending their time looking for speeders and, in their annoyance, would just shoot cars off the road if they were going too fast.

Now, you know, it’s always a (very distant) possibility that none of these scenarios would happen. Maybe the signs just mean that violations of the speed limit are monitored by aircraft and you’ll get a ticket later, or something like that. But the word “enforced” implies a more active role on the part of the aircraft, don’t you think?

Anyway, I can’t speak with certainty about any of these possibilities as I kept the car to the speed limit.

And maybe cast an eye toward the sky every now and then.

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