Wednesday, May 09, 2012

breaking bad(ish)

There's this speed trap nearby. One of those places where, on a four-lane road with the suffix "Highway,"  the posted speed abruptly changes from 40 to 30. Over the past six months the photo radar folk have sporadically set up shop, and issued, what I think of as, "pussy tickets" -- because they arrive by mail a week or so later. An envelope with a low-rez picture of the driver looking very deer-in-the-headlights as the flash of the camera catches them in a sort of Cops rendition of their malfeasance.

How do I know this?

Don't be coy. You know I got one of these fuckers. $168 for going 41 mph in a 30.

I'm no anarchist. Yes, I was traveling at the upper end of the continuum for "appropriate" - Yes, I disobeyed the law. Guilty. And pissed off--more because I was "called out" than for the actual penalty. I scribbled off a "but...but..." sort of letter, shoved my check in an envelope, and, as they are wont to do when a driver pleads for mercy, the ODOT folk reduced my fine and sent half my money back to me.

Where am I going with this? Yep, this is a correlative for the plot board post, and my personal relationship with rules. Particularly rules I set up for myself. So. Update. I'm about two-thirds through the first draft of my excellent new adventure, and the sticky notes, try as they might, are getting dissed left and right. I'm peeling them off like scabs, and slapping new ones down in their place. I'll write up to a plot point, all good intentions (seatbelt fastened, not on my cell phone), and then the character will say something that's not on the map. And, I have to say, my reaction to this is, well, nothing short of joy.

Of course, this makes things complicated.

There's a bit of undo-undo-undo that ensues. And some replotting moving forward. Which leads to further replotting. All because my antagonist decides to give the middle finger to God. And by God, I mean me.

That old saw about the headlights and driving only as far as they illuminate the path ahead, but making the whole trip that way? All my fancy GPS equipment is recalculating. It's terrifying, really, but so much fun. Foot on the pedal and all that.

What rules do you like breaking most?


  1. Ironically, I just posted something the other day about being a chronic rule follower. I know, I know, but ever since I was little I've had this thing about rules making the playing field even for everybody. But fuckinggoddammit, I speed on a daily basis. I'm so sorry you got nabbed. And so expensive a ticket for going only 41 mph!!! That's just craziness.

    I wish I'd followed my own rule of keeping the closet doors closed. The puppy -- now 11 months old -- has become a chronic shoe-eater. Today I left the door open. 2 favorite pairs of shoes destroyed. That's what I get.

    1. Oh Teri, I feel your pain on the chewed shoe front! And, I need to march on over to your blog and catch up.

      As far as rules go, the ones I follow (and get pissed off mightily when others don't) are those social rules, like waiting in line and not talking too loud in a public place. But, alas, years of making it up as I go along has nurtured an arrogance in me. I'm all: fuck that! about a lot of things. Especially the things that arise from my own hope that someday I'll wake up and not be a total freak.

      Now, off I go to the Carter Library to see what I've missed!

    2. The talking too loud in a public place kills me. No, literally, KILLS me. And what's worse is when the "too loud talking" person is sitting at your own table.

    3. The cafe where I go to write is home to many other people who do the same thing, yet there are people who walk in, see everyone surrounded by papers and with their noses to the keyboard, and start carrying on these LOUD conversations. I realize it's a coffee shop and not a library, but please, can't we use our inside voices?

    4. God bless all who have a high "inside voice" intelligence quotient.

  2. Moses Solomon10:37 AM

    Hi, stranger. Rules are good, in moderation. (Speeding tickets for revenue purposes not included.)
    The part about your character's middle finger reminded me of John Frame's artwork (currently on exhibit at the Portland Art Museum). He had a full-bloom vision of what he wanted; then, when he started working on it, the sculptures told him "no, not like this; like this" and it now looks nothing like the original vision.
    I find myself more or less following the practice that my wife and I use when we go on vacation - certain things are pre-planned and reserved, while other stuff is open to "Hey, that looks interesting." Similarly, certain things in my book are staked in the ground and have to happen. I'm in charge, and thou shall perform as I declare. But, the in-between is open to "Hey, that looks interesting" (or, in some cases, "Argh!"). Chow.

    1. "I'm in charge, and thous shall perform as I declare." Nice!


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