Why I'm Like Cal Ripken Jr…Kind Of

I’m probably going to jinx myself by talking about this. But I need to get this off my chest. I’ve been driving since I was 16 years old. I took my road test on the very first day I was eligible. Did I fail once? Yes, I did. But in my defense, I truly believe (slash hope) that parallel parking is going the way of cursive writing and shouldn’t be a part of the road test. Anyway, I’ve been driving since I was sixteen years old and I’ve never gotten pulled over for any reason. No tail light out. No speeding. No rolling through a stop sign. Nothing. Not to brag but I don’t know anyone else who can say the same. I think it’s pretty impressive. I have a perfectly clean driving record (aside for a few completely unfair and uncalled for parking tickets, of course). You’d think this would make me proud, but instead it makes me very, very nervous. It’s gone from a point of pride to a burden. I feel like I’m an athlete with a streak that I need to keep alive. You know when Cal Ripken went for all those years without missing a game? Yeah. I  can empathize. I’ve gone for 8 years (almost 9) without ever seeing flashing lights in my rearview mirror. The pressure is on. Time to perform at the highest level.

A few months ago someone backed into my car and cracked my tail light. It was annoying. But when I was bringing the car in the guy said, “I’ll fix it right now so you don’t get pulled over driving around with a cracked tail light.”

I broke out in a cold sweat. I hadn’t even thought about that. Here I was, driving around for weeks with my streak on the line. So careless. No regard for my years of hard work and careful observation of the speed limit. What was I thinking!? I wanted to hug this stranger at the auto body shop for helping me protect my record.

It’s hard to say how all of this began. I was definitely not one of those kids who never missed a day of school. I was always sick and my mom believed in “mental health” days. But I believe in observing the speed limit. Definitely. In fact, my friends will tell you that when I first got my license I drove like a grandma. I wasn’t your typical teenager speeding around like Jeff Gordon (is he still around?). I guess it started there and then as my careful driving prevented me from getting a ticket it officially evolved into a streak.

I was thisclose to shattering my flawless record one day last summer in a moment of reckless abandon. I was rushing to go to Dunkin’ Donuts before work. I went flying through a yellow light. With a cop behind me. He flew through the light too and came right up behind me. I started sweating and cursing. I knew the end of the streak was upon me. But I drove the speed limit and he stayed on my tail for a few miles and then eventually turned off down another road. The streak remained unbroken.

And it still remains unbroken to this day. Knock on all things wooden. I’m going to see how long I can keep it going. Of course, I probably jinxed it and as soon as I get in my car today I’ll get pulled over. The Universe doesn’t like bragging.

Any other perfect records out there? Let me know!

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