Life in a Small Town

Most depressing things I’ve seen or heard in the last two weeks:

1. The policeman who pulled me over for speeding last Tuesday asked me about my driving record and I told him, quite truthfully, that I’ve had four moving violations in nearly forty years of driving, the most recent a speeding ticket in another county last August. He said that not having had a ticket for eight whole months made me an excellent driver, and let me go with a warning. Apparently a significant percentage of local drivers get several tickets a year, which explains a lot about my insurance rates. I’ve had one ticket each in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s, so I suppose I should be worried that the ’10s will arrive fairly soon.

2. The next evening, one of the actors at the play I was seeing (Comedy of Errors here) asked if that was me he’d seen pulled over by a police car. Thanks for noticing, funny man.

3. A week or so before, a fellow theater-goer asked me about the Loeb Classical Text I was reading at intermission and whether I teach Latin (yes) or Greek (if there’s any demand). We talked about teaching and learning for a good five minutes before realizing that if we were in the same grad department at the same time, we really should know each other. We knew each other’s names, but less than twenty years had changed both our faces beyond recognition.

4. My students sometimes offer unsolicited dating advice, which I can generally squelch by saying that I don’t really think dating advice from teenagers is very helpful to someone my age. Before I could do so last week, one of my 11th-graders offered to set me up on a date . . . with her grandmother. To make it worse, she seems to have been serious, and well-intentioned.

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3 Responses to Life in a Small Town

  1. You would hate to imagine those drivers that the police are on a first name basis with.

    Trust that the one time you do get aprehended, someone you know watches it :)

  2. Derek Cross says:

    Your students are altogether too familiar with you if they are offering unsolicited dating advice. (The other way, you are altogether too familiar with them.) I thought classics masters were supposed to be grim and forbidding.

  3. Al K. says:

    (1) I like that cop’s algorithm, as implied. The next few times he pulls you over, at least until he starts to recognize you, he can continue to issue warnings and you can continue to say you have received no citations in over eight months. Maybe he only issues tickets to people who look familiar. Stay away from doughnut shops.

    Some areas do have higher rates of traffic-law violation. In Albuquerque, when I last lived there in 1982, I regularly saw people run red lights in the middle of the day.

    (3) My mom recently showed me a class picture from about 1935, when she’d have been about 10, and I had no trouble picking her out of about 30 girls. Okay, maybe not so surprising. My first college roommate picked me out of my nursery-school graduation picture immediately. (Granted, there were only eight of us in our little gowns and mortar-boards, and he and I had attended the same junior high.) On the other hand, I look in the mirror today and hardly recognize the face; I apply my knowledge of optics to infer that it must be mine. It reminds me of a Three Stooges or Marx Brothers routine.

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