I think about Dave Dudley from time to time. And yes, usually when I’m on the road.
It didn’t seem like it, but Dave Dudley was a bad influence for kids way back when. Mr. Dudley was in a hurry to get home and was unashamed by the fact that he was breakin’ the law to get there – post haste.
With my driving record, I try to be more mindful of the speed limit these days. I learned in traffic school, over and over, that cops on a highway, generally speaking, give folks about a ten mile an hour leeway. After that, you’re throwin’ the dice.
On my way out of town on business, I set the cruise control right at ten miles an hour over – feeling pretty impressed with my willpower to do so. There was a time when a gas pedal, any gas pedal, owned me.
Sleeping in a strange bed and eating in restaurants, usually by yourself, has a way of making most of us a tad homesick. Or at least sick of not sleeping and crummy food.
When work was done I was like an antsy dog desperate for a walk.
It was windy and raining. The sky was black, grey, and brown. The Arizona desert was getting a rare break, the saguaros, creosotes, and mesquites were drinking up the sky.
I set the cruise control to ten over, cranked the satellite radio to trek the lonely blacktop that’s so far out in the middle of nowhere that an A.M. radio airwave couldn’t find it back in the day.
I waited for oncoming traffic to clear before I passed the stray eighteen wheelers, justification for speeding, pulling back to ten over less and less with each pass.
The speed felt like an old sweatshirt.
Speeding is a lot like parking; park in the loneliest part of an empty lot and it attracts others like flowers do bees… and speeding does cops.
The Nissan, desperate to catch this Dave Dudley disciple, didn’t see the cop hiding behind the creosotes in the median. My stomach shot a little bit of poison when I saw that cop pull out with his lights flashing.
The cop could have had a red light special; two for one, but he settled for the trailing Nissan.
Bending the rules isn’t like adding a little bit of white paint to a big bucket of black. In their purest form, there’s only black and white, right and wrong, there is no grey. And trying to justify our actions to suit our emotions reveals the hypocrite in us.
I throttled it back to nine over. And when the miles were counting down from being on the road, Dave Dudley, and his famous tune, came back to me for an encore visit.
“My home town’s uh-comin’ in sight – If you think I’m-uh-happy, you’re right! Six days on the road and I’m-uh-gonna make it home tonight.”