A Room With A View

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“Hello Houston, We’ve Got A Problem”, was the thought racing through my mind. Only the location wasn’t Houston, it was Ft. Lauderdale, FL. From my perspective, I’d done the hard part. I had patiently waited in a very long line for a rental car. The rental rate I had negotiated for the car was very favorable, but sometimes it comes down to a “bait and switch”. You know what I mean: “We no longer have the very small, inexpensive, ‘no amenities’ vehicle you requested, but can provide you ‘this or this’. What color do you want?” Any color but red would have been my response. Statistically, red vehicles are stopped for speeding more often that any other color, or at least that’s what I’ve been led to believe.

 

I purchased a sports car in 1987. That was “back-in-the-day” when I mistakenly thought if you got a speeding ticket, all you had to do was go to a defensive driving course and magically everything would go away. What I learned in the process is that faulty information can get you into a lot of trouble. Okay, I get it! I didn’t really think or mean that the forces of my misinformation led me down the highway at “breaking- the-sound-barrier” levels of speed.   Faulty information wasn’t the source of my trouble.

 

The car would allegedly go 160 mph; however, I don’t know for sure. I never drove it that fast. On more than one occasion, my foot got a little heavy and I drove it over the speed limit. Okay, I’ll modify that to suggest that it could have been as much as twice the speed limit. Fortunately, my car was white and inconspicuous. Based on my track record of getting stopped, all I can say is: “Thank God, I didn’t have a red car”. Of course, every time I got a speeding ticket, the General went shopping. What I learned is that you’re ineligible to take the defensive driving course to minimize the damages if you’re traveling over twenty-five miles an hour over the post speed limit. You are also in a lot of trouble at home when you get a speeding ticket.

 

Does the color of your car and style really make a difference in the attention you receive from law enforcement?  I have a younger brother in Oklahoma. Sometimes he chooses to hear what he wants to hear. I told him: “Don’t buy a red truck”. He bought one anyway. Maybe he is too smart for his own good?

 

There are some studies that indicate the belief that red cars being stopped more often is reportedly flawed. Perhaps the origin of the misinformation is associated to fire trucks. Red is the stock color they come in and they are routinely driven like they are going to a fire. That connotation adds the notion that it is okay to be in a hurry.

 

According to the rest of the story based on any number of surveys, red vehicles are second on the list of vehicles stopped most often. Drum roll – topping the list is the color white. Gray and silver come in at third and fourth place respectively.

 

Finally, when I got to the counter to pick up my rental car, the biggest hurdle I had to jump was to convince the attendant that I didn’t need the extra insurance and that I was perfectly capable of bringing the car back with a full tank of fuel. I played it cool. When she asked what kind of car I wanted, I suggested she consider putting me in a convertible at the same rate. She laughed, but she played it by the book. As luck would have it, they had at least one small, inexpensive, ‘no amenities’ vehicle and it was the one assigned to my name. By the way, the color was red.

 

Of course, I wasn’t out of the parking lot before I recognized I had a problem. My first order of business was to plug in my cell phone for charging. Aside from using the ‘cigarette lighter’ receptacle, there wasn’t a USB connection or port for me to plug in my phone. That is definitely old school and it put me without a way to keep my phone charged. I was driving the following day across the state and I needed access to the map application on my phone. There was no way my phone would stay charged without it.

 

Next I attempted to pull up the map application for the address in Pompano Beach where I was going. The phone device indicated it was loading as I made my way out of the parking lot. By the time I reached the exit, the phone was no longer still loading. The message on the screen stated: “Server Not Found”.

 

Are you kidding me? There was no way I’d find my destination without my phone. “No problem”, I thought to myself. I’d check with Siri. His is always a friendly voice and he is always helpful. Guess what? Siri wasn’t talking to me either. I pulled into a service station to park while I figured out the problem. Long-story-short, for whatever reason I didn’t have cell phone coverage. Like Abraham, I was destined to “go out not knowing” and rely on God’s guidance to provide the way.

 

Okay, so my level of faith was being tested and I was in a panic. There was no way I’d make either of my destinations in Florida without someone telling me to “turn right” or travel a specified distance before merging onto another highway. I had the immediate thought, “I wish the General was with me”. Actually, it is true, but not just because she’s normally the copilot/navigator.

 

The General had planned to travel with me. For months her sister and brother-in-law have patiently waited on us to come to Tampa. They’ve just moved in a new home and I’m the designated picture hanger. Never have I been more honored. They have an amazing art collection. At any rate, the General’s beloved Barnabas is down-for-the count and the General wouldn’t leave him. She insisted I travel without her. Of course, I take some comfort in her commitment to attentively care for Barnabas. I figure she will one day do the same with me.

 

I tried two map applications, repeated non-answered calls to Siri and had the thought, “This is not going to be a good experience.” I really needed map access. About thirty minutes later, out of the blue, the server connected and my requested map came up on the screen. “Thank you Lord”! I was back in business.

 

Yesterday afternoon I drove from Pompano Beach, FL on the Atlantic side of Florida to Redington Shores, FL on the Gulf side. I’ve never been though the Everglades. The stretch of highway labeled “Alligator Alley” had a mystic about it. I also envisioned water on both sides of the highway. After all, this was swamp land. You could have fooled me. It looked like any other stretch of long highway.

 

Today we hang pictures. We sorted them out and strategically made the plan last night. It was well past midnight when I headed upstairs to my room. The view of the bay that borders their property is beyond impressive. I am eager for sunrise.

 

All My Best!

Don

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One thought on “A Room With A View”

  1. Enjoy your stay on the west coast, quite beautiful over there and plenty of sea shells (more than the east coast). Try not to travel Alligator Alley after dark, too many mishaps.

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