The sun was bright and warm for November, the water sparkled as if it were August. In the distance a fishing boat bobbed on the surf, a lone ferry chugged toward the Vineyard from the Cape. It was a spectacular, picturesque day, all blue and green and gold, the kind reserved for brochure photos that lure tourists into booking passage, rooms, and tables in restaurants. But, of course, I’m in this story, so there is a twist.
As I cruised along Beach Road on the stretch between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs (not another car in sight), I was mesmerized by the beauty and the peace and the serenity all around. I praised myself for having moved here; I’m sure that I was smiling. I almost reached the Jumping Bridge that most folks recognize from JAWS (cue the soundtrack) . . . when suddenly a blue flashing light lit up my rearview mirror.
“Was I speeding?” I asked the nice officer in the blue-and-gray outfit.
I was horrified. “I guess I was daydreaming. I was so distracted by the water . . .”
“License and registration, please.”
Well, there’s no need to elaborate. Suffice it to say I sat in shame while he called in my info. I hoped nothing vile showed up on my record if I have a record beyond the red light I ran back in Hadley when I was trying to rush home before my groceries defrosted.
And now, with hands folded, head hanging, I suddenly thought about a friend who once won the lottery. He was delirious until he learned that 14 others would share the jackpot, resulting in a much-diluted sum after taxes. He said, “The worst part is that was my only ‘first chance.’ I mean, who hits Megabucks more than once?”
Being stopped for speeding is hardly like winning the lottery, but it crossed my mind that this had been my only “first chance” at getting a moving violation on the island. I couldn’t believe I’d used it up after living here just two months.
The good news is that the nice policeman only gave me a warning. Perhaps he’d been mesmerized by the gorgeous day, too. Whatever the reason, I was grateful.
On the way home I obeyed the speed limit. And I stopped and bought a Megabucks ticket.