Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ken's Driving Miracles

Ken would like me to share the stories of his recent miracles. You may wish to argue the classification "miracle", but Ken won't be dissuaded, I assure you. And where do I stand on the matter? Perhaps that will come clear in the telling.

Miracle #1

Ken is driving home at around two o'clock in the morning on a weeknight. He's been out socializing, and he has drunk at four, maybe five vodka and cranberries over the course of the evening. He's sure about the fact that he's not sober, but he's feeling lucky. He'll drive himself home. Everything will be fine.

He takes the car up the on-ramp to the Don Valley Parkway. (This highway is affectionately known as the Don Valley Parking Lot during Toronto rush hours, but at this time of night it's wide open.) Ken gets ready to accelerate, but as he rounds a corner the flashing lights of numerous police cars catch his attention. It's a R.I.D.E.* check. They wave him over.

Ken plays it cool, but inwardly he's panicking. How much did he have to drink exactly? How long has it been? Not long enough. Depending on what happens in the next few minutes they might press charges against him, impound his car, any number of horrible things.

An officer approaches the car. Asks the usual rote questions. Have you been drinking tonight, sir? Offers the Breathalyzer to blow into. Ken blows. The officer checks the readout, and an odd look crosses his face. Ken composes his face into an impassive mask, waiting for the judgement to fall. The officer turns the Breathalyzer around so that Ken can see the readout.

It says 0.00. This indicates an alcohol level of absolutely nil.

Well, says the officer, I suppose it's been some time since your last drink. Yes, I guess so, lies Ken. Then they set him free to drive his tipsy self the rest of the way home.

2:44 am - I am woken by a very excited Ken, exulting about a miracle but he'll tell me in the morning. Grrrrrnnnnnhh, I say, and fall back asleep.

The next morning, Ken tells me his story. He's all "Isn't that a great miracle?" I'm all "You drove home after how many vodka and cranberries?"

So after he has dissuaded me from strangling him, and after I have fetched the Bible and made him solemnly swear on it to never drive after more than one drink ever again, we debrief. It seems to both of us that this is a warning, direct from The Big Guy. Ken got off easy this time, but he's not going to press his luck again. He swore to it.

Miracle #2

Ken and I are driving around on Saturday, doing some errands. Randomly, in the middle of the day, the right-hand turn signal stops working. The clicker sounds different, so we can both tell something is wrong. Ken makes a mental note to fix it as soon as possible, but in the meantime we continue with our day.

We stay out for dinner, and head home after dark. Once again, we're driving on the DVP. Ken's behind the wheel, as usual.

Just as randomly as it stopped working, the right-hand turn signal starts working again.

Five minutes later, a white Acura gets in front of our car and sits there. There's not much space between the two cars. I know it's dangerous based on the speed we're travelling. Ken signals to change lanes, and then moves over. The Acura moves over to and stays right in front of us. Ken switches back and the Acura cuts us off again.

We stay stuck behind the Acura, boxed in by other cars, for enough time to really get Ken's blood boiling. Finally a space opens up to our right: a new lane with no other cars in it all the way to our turn-off. Ken swerves into the lane and floors the accelerator. The pack of cars we were stuck in fades to a speck in the rearview mirror within moments. Shortly thereafter, Ken brakes hard to slow for a red light at the end of the off-ramp.

A car pulls up beside us. It's an O.P.P. cruiser (that's the Ontario Provincial Police), with the lights flashing. He waves us over to the side of the road.

Ken pulls over. We sit very quietly as we wait the obligatory stomach-churning five minutes for the officer to run a check on our plates. I have never been in a pulled-over car before. I will learn later that Ken knew he had accelerated up to 140 Km/h in a 90 Km/h zone. At 50 Km/h over the speed limit, he could be charged with speed racing and lose his license permanently.

"I shouldn't have gotten frustrated," he says to himself. "I shouldn't have let that guy tick me off."

Finally the officer comes over to the car for a chat. Ken explains the situation and admits that he shouldn't have acted out his frustration. Once again, he looks cool as a cucumber, and suitably contrite. On the inside, he's freaking out. He's ready for them to throw the book at him.

The officer is a nice guy. He says that he's just concerned for our safety. It's Saturday night, there are drunks on the road, and there's also a wind warning making it harder for people to control their cars. "One little slip at that speed, or someone gets into your lane..." he shakes his head. I guess he's seen the worst before.

"I'm not going to give you a ticket tonight," he says. "Just drive safely." Ken doesn't need to be told twice. The officer pulls out with his lights on and blocks a lane of traffic so that we can merge safely. Then we're on our way. The worst speeding offense possible under the law, and we got off with a warning.

Not only that, but the turn signal was working. We could have gotten a ticket for that too.

"Wow." says Ken. "Wow!"

All the way home, at intervals he would start shaking his head, smiling, and saying "Wow" over and over again. We got home. He parked. "Wow," he said as we got out of the car. Back in our house, as he was taking off his shoes: "Wow." As I got ready to go to bed, I could hear him muttering "Wow" to himself still.

We debriefed, and figured again that this was a message from Above warning Ken to stay safe. "I will not speed like that again," he promised. "I've learned my lesson. I won't expect a miracle every time."

*Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere


Anonymous said...

Wow. Just ... wow. I would've bought a lottery ticket on both occasions.

Great stories! Isn't it cool when God sneaks Himself into our daily lives that way?

Anonymous said...

What a lucky guy. Someone must be looking out for him.

LL Cool Joe said...

Hmmmm dunno. :D See you could take those 2 situations the other way. "I got away with it once so I can do it again!"

Interesting stories and situatiuons though.

I got a speeding ticket for driving 10 mph over the speed limit, so maybe i'm just jealous!

Karen said...

They are both lucky stories. I am glad that things worked out for the best in both situations. As for the second offense, often if you have a clean record and are respectful, an officer will give you a break with a warning.

They don't really fit my definition of Miracle, but that is not to say that God wasn't sending you (or Ken) a message. I believe that God sends us messages and signs all the time and we just have to open to "hearing" the messages.

Queen Lindsay said...

Wowzers, I can't believe he blew 0.00, that is totally wild.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Wow is right. He so totally got a get out of jail free card, but I wouldn't push for a third miracle.

Sparkling Red said...

Darcknyt: Yeah, He's really quite sneaky! ;-)

Unsigned: I'll say. I'm certainly grateful that he/we got home safe both times.

LL Cool Joe: It's true - both of those experiences are open to more than one interpretation. I'm just glad that Ken has chosen to take them as lessons, not a free ticket to fly by the seat of his pants.

Karen: I think that supernatural intervention was strongly indicated in both stories. Miracle might be a rather strong word, especially in the second case. I think of a miracle as something that could ONLY be caused by God's direct intervention, rather than something unlikely that got a little extra help from Upstairs.

Queen Lindsay: He kept the disposable mouthpiece as a reminder. :-)

Ron: Yeah, I don't think miracles are the kind of thing you can push for. It's all about grace, totally at God's discretion.

wigsf said...

Yeah, a miracle was Jesus turning water into wine, not drinking the wine and still being able to walk a straight line.

And in my experience, the more Asian you look, the more likely you are to being pulled over.

Unknown said...

I can only say wow as well.
I hope he sticks with the vows and heeds the warnings!

Jenski said...

Wow. I was going to write something else, but that's all I've got.