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If A Sheep Gnat Flies To The Front Seat Of A Car Doing 120, What’s The First Thing In It’s Mind, If It Hits The Window?

May 25th, 2011 · Tags:Cities · Satire

I don’t know if I will ever get this metric system here in New Zealand.

I mean some things are pretty easy, like a 13mm wrench is darn near a half-inch wrench as we use in the U.S. Of course we use metric wrenches too … But it is the whole kilometers per hour thing that messes with me most. I wish I had paid more attention in math class back in school.

Remember those word problems we used to do and how we never thought they would have a practical application? They do. Here is the one I was faced with on the road the other day.

If police officers in the United States will allow you to travel up to 15 miles per hour over the speed limit on the highway, and the speed limit is 70 … you are good for about 82-83 and no ticket, right?

Now convert that to the metrics system. All of the sudden the numbers sound really intimidating for the same speed. So, if the speed limit on Highway 7 from Christchurch New Zealand to Hanmer Springs, NZ is 100 kilometers per hour, how fast in kilometers can PingWi-Fi travel before getting popped with a ticket — payable in Kiwi dollars?

Well, I don’t know what the safe answer is, but I can tell you that 120 kilometers per hour, will get you pulled over in a New Zealand minute and ticketed for $120 New Zealand coin. So, if my math is correct, the tolerance level is not near as lenient on the highway in New Zealand. If the same standard were applied from the U.S., I should have been able to cruise up around 125-130 before getting the ticket. I think.

Anyway, the moral off the story is to do your homework and obey the law.

Yes, I fought the law and the law won in New Zealand. It was a weird deal … they baited me I tell you … I am innocent … I was framed.

Here’s how this little traffic sting went down. As soon as I left the hot springs in Hanmer Springs, one of Kiwi Five-O started tailing me. You know how guilty you feel and probably look when a patrol car is on your back bumper, just waiting for you to do something noteworthy … even though you are totally innocent. What you don’t get that feeling too? Anyway …. that is how i felt for 15 minutes as he tailed me, plus I was already dealing with that whole driving on the opposite side of the road thing in a foreign country.

Well the guy would not stop shadowing me. I think he was baiting me to speed up so he could get his quota of ticket penmanship for the day. I would have none of it. If the straightaway speed limit was 100 kilometers per hour, I drove 99. If the limit slowed to 85 around a mountain curve, I did 84 and so on. This went on for a while, around several twists and turns. Then I started to think he really wanted me to speed up just so he and the cars that were forming a line behind him could go faster.

What to do? Well, I decided to err on the side of caution and follow the law.

About that time the officer finally passed me, got in from of me and slowed down. (Man I hate that.) No worries mate. I slowed down too. Ha … then a third car started riding my tail. “Hey buddy, did you not see that the car who just pulled in front of me was a cop … you know, the same cop car that was in front of you, you nitwit?” I guess he didn’t. He rode me for a bit, then roared on around and passed me, just so he too could slam on his breaks once he was positioned in front of me, between me and the squad car.

Brainiac. I don’t know if the guy was smart enough to know he should have felt stupid for passing to catch the cop, and then having to slow down.

Finally, the cop … Cop #1 we’ll call him flashed his lights, pulled a U-Turn, which really looks weird when driving on the different side of the road, btw … and pulled over a car from the opposite direction.

Yes! I was finally off the hook.

Well, Joe Rocket Scientist in from of me never speeded up, after the officer was gone. In fact he slowed down. Guess who had had enough, on this (I forgot to mention) two-lane highway. I revved up the Holden automobile (an Aussie make) and passed the guy with theatrical flourish, to make my point. Ha! Showed him.

Then finally, it was smooth sailing, until I was clocked by Cop #2 about 10 miles up the road. So, that is when I started reviewing my metric conversion data, when I was clocked at and penalized for 120 kilometers per hour.

Did I even bother telling him I had been baited into driving fast by a rear-riding officer and a moron who reacted counter-intuitively to every driving fundamental known to man. Well … no … I just didn’t think he would see it my way.

What could I do. I took it, and I said “thank you” and “yes sir” and my best “sorry about that mate.”

Finally the ticketing officer seemed to be lightening up a little when he got conversational. “So what is it you are doing over here in New Zealand, Yank?”

Yes! This would be the break I was looking for. Surely when I told him my colleagues and I were helping Christchurch in disaster recovery after the earthquake … surely he would cut me some slack and maybe give me a warning.

“Disaster recovery, mate?”

“Yes sir!”

“Well, how’s about we don’t start another one, and take the foot off the pedal for a spell.”
Ha …. well thank you “Jack Webb” for the deadpan one liner.

Know what I saying?