Habitual Traffic Violator Paranoid That Lifestyle Of Speeding, Incomplete Stops Will Someday Catch Up With Him
Glancing nervously over his shoulder, Lance Stewart gives a furtive look at what he thinks could be the hammer of the law crashing down upon him once and for all -- was it just a taxi or a cop? Did he have his radar on? Is doing 44 in a 35 MPH zone the straw that breaks the camel's back?
The moment passes, and Stewart continues on: technically a free man, but one with a past full of ghosts that haunt him mercilessly as he passes through dangerous city and country streets, doing at least five MPH over the limit and often failing to stop completely at stop signs or when making a right turn on a red light.
These are the harrowing events that constitute the day of a man whose life is caught in a ruthless cycle of speed, break, resist overwhelming temptation to pass the guy hogging the left lane, pass him on the right, speed, break for the cop waiting in speed trap -- and so on and so forth. At 28, the architectural products representative admits to living in a constant state of fear and paranoia, waiting for the day that all of his past sins will soon catch up to him, just like the cop that will ineluctably pull him over.
"The other day, I nearly lost it when I saw a state trooper pull up behind me on the highway," said the troubled Stewart, who said he must have been doing at least 10 over the 55 mph speed zone. "When another cop, and yet another, and then an ambulance all whizzed past me, I thought I was either hallucinating or that my time had come, and I would have crashed my car into the divider to put an end to all this torment, but just in time to stop myself I noticed a burning car on the shoulder and another in the ditch. I suppose that that gave me a reason to go on, but I know that someone's got it in for me."
Unable to bring himself out of the perilous habit of failing to make complete stops, and remain within the confines of the speed limits, Stewart believes that it is only a matter of time.
"I don't pretend to be a victim, but how many yellow lights can one blow through?" rhetorically asked the afflicted driver. "How many right turns at 6:56 PM can one take at No Turn On Red 7AM-7PM intersections? How long can I continue to do this to myself before something truly terrible happens? I'm driving on borrowed time."
Incapable of leaving his apartment some days, Stewart hopes that others will not go down the same path that he chose. Incapacitated by the near certainty that the law is laying in wait to catch him during one weak moment, the afflicted speeder often resorts to ordering delivery, or even walking to the corner deli, where he scrapes together all the change that he hasn't spent on highly-addictive gasoline, to get his pabulum for the day.
Stewart says that he has tried repeatedly to drive in the right lane and not ride the ass of the driver in front of him who isn't going exactly the speed he desires, but each attempt is always met with the same disappointment of returning to the middle and left lanes, and sometimes even entering them without using a turn signal.
Like many addicts, he feels that if there is a rock bottom then they are still falling fast towards it. "I thought it couldn't get any worse than that horrible feeling after driving for six hours and breaking every speed limit by at least 9 miles per hour the whole way, but the day that I swerved across three lanes of traffic and cut off some little old lady in a Honda Skylark just to get to my exit a few seconds faster was a new low for me. And that's not the worst thing I done."
"Sometimes I think I'm subconsciously trying to get caught," continued the addled Stewart. "You get to a point where you just don't care, and the decision to keep on going, living in the same destructive routine as the day before, is far more painful than the thought of seeing it all end with that $100 ticket and a few points on the license. Sometimes, I think the cops are just watching me suffer, like the time when I blew through the orange light right in front of City Hall. That was definitely some kind of Dostoevskian attempt at a confession on my part, but nothing happened and I continue to live this miserable life the only way I've ever known it -- on the lam."