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February 26, 2006

Vulnerability is Power

We were at a red light. We were in the middle lane and at the front. My wife was in the passenger seat. She was a few months pregnant with our son, but not really showing it yet. We were in my Porsche Boxster S. I had been driving it for almost a year. There was a very long throw on the clutch, and it had taken a while to learn not to stall it when setting off; at first I had stalled it at least once each time.

The lights turned green and I stalled it. I paused, started it again and stalled it. I tried again and stalled it. The light went red. I waited. I looked in the rear-view mirror; there were about five cars behind me. The light went green. I stalled it. I started it again. I stalled it again. The light went red. I looked in the rear-view mirror; there were about ten cars behind me. I began to worry that people might start beeping at me.

The light went green. I stalled it. I paused for a moment, feeling very embarrassed. And then I tried again, and I stalled it. And then I started it again and I set off. And I as drove I noticed that the light was red; I hadn't even been looking at it. And there was a car coming quickly from my side. So I floored it and the engine howled and we took off.

Then I saw the flashing light in the rear-view mirror and I heard the siren and I realized that a police car had been waiting at the red light, in my blind spot. I had just been sitting at a red light and then had just taken off from standing.

So she pulled me over. I felt very scared. As she walked along the side of the car, I looked down at a picture of my teacher and I started repeating "Oh-m" inside myself. When she arrived, there were tears in my eyes. I said that I was sorry and I explained briefly what had happened.

She went back to her car for a moment and then came back and told me to be careful. She said that I had a lovely car and that it would be terrible if it got smashed up. I thanked her. And it seemed like it was a miracle. Who, in California, gets away with running a red light from standing, in a sports car, almost causing a crash, in front of a police officer?


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