During our drive to Georgia this week, I noticed several variances in the way my speed was monitored. Sometimes there were signs warning me such “observation” was possibly taking place and sometimes I did notice actual “observers”. Though monitoring speed might have occurred, rarely did I see any evidence of detection—as in “I pulled you over because I detected you violating the speed limit.”

Oh, sure, there were many times when I spotted police vehicles “monitoring” traffic. Usually they were strategically parked in the median. I say strategically, because I suspected the ploy was to be intimidating rather than enforcing. There were far more instances of patrol cars clearly evident, rather than the “hiding in the weeds” speed trap. Part of my intimidation-not-enforcement supposition is founded on my van being slower than most other vehicles, which were passing said stationed police presence, AND I was “speeding” to forego being a traffic hazard at the posted limit. However, there were no pulled over cars in the vicinity. Thus, I question the success of such intimidating tactics.

Of course, signs are not particularly intimidating either. Aircraft are monitory your speed in this area. After dark? Without a doubt, such aircraft can detect my speed, but what are they going to do, drop a “paint ball bomb” to tag my car? Even in broad daylight…regardless of whatever delineates “broad” about certain daylight conditions…I have witnessed overhead aircraft AND excessive speeding in the area, but no violator ever pulled over. I’d be willing to bet, no speed-policing by air has produced fines sufficient to pay for the warning signs much less the fuel to keep the plane aloft.

I do have a friend who once piloted a police chopper and he admitted there was no clear protocol of how he was to stop a speeder. He supposed it was NOT to spear the tail pipe with the chopper’s landing rails. I suggested maybe that hovering low, in front of a speeding vehicle, would get the point across rather vividly. He suggested I had watched way too many 007 movies. He feared that if he was to try this tactic, he’d likely hover backwards into the rear of a semi.

In Georgia, I saw a sign I’ve not witnessed elsewhere. SPEED CHECKED BY DETECTING DEVICES    Wow! You mean those geese aren’t reporting my speed? Detecting Devices? Really?   Considering as much road kill as I’ve seen, I’d suggest that animals are not particularly adept at speed checking. So what is left but devices?  I imagine the wording of the sign is to replace “radar” and now include checking my speed by satellite. After all, my GPS reports my speed in red when my vehicle exceeds the local limit. I can only wonder when a law will be enacted to allow my GPS to “DETECT AND REPORT” my vehicle to local authorities whenever it surpasses the speed limit. You will clearly notice the use of “my vehicle” rather than infer that “I” might ever be guilty.

Nevertheless, until the time such a law is passed, the signs and strategically place police cars are hardly intimidating. Until motorists actually witness hordes of violators being pulled over, intimidation will continue to be ineffective. Whenever my mom waved her hand as a SIGN of potential punishment for my misbehaving, I knew full well I had been detected. Trust me…violators were prosecuted. That’s truly how intimidation works.

? of the day:  Isn’t the long arm of the law actually getting shorter?

Just to clarify…

For quite some time, my vision has been in need of clarification. My lenses were too cloudy to be correctable with glasses. Laser surgery became my best option and was scheduled to be accomplished at Genesis Surgery Center.

At the check-in window, I introduced myself. The gal quickly located my admitting folder. “What are we doing for you today?”   She’s looking at records with my name on the folder’s tab as well as at the top of every single page within it. Even upside-down I could read the sheet that identified my reason for rising before the sun, not to mention fasting for 12 hours. It’s gotta be a test, right? Why am I there is just the first question. How many questions can I miss and still pass? What happens if I fail her quiz? Do I have to take a seat in the waiting room and study for a re-test?

Why are you here today? was a question that was posed to me by about everyone wearing scrubs at Genesis Surgery Center. The receptionist’s inquiry was marginally reasonable. She had all my paperwork, but, I suppose, still needed to verify who I was and why I was there.

She pulled a lovely Blue & White striped ID bracelet from my records folder and proceeded. “Spell your last name, please.” I easily recited each letter clearly. Continuing to verify the info on the blue wrist band she asked for spelling of my first name and middle initial. Then came her question as to my date of birth. I thought it was time to quiz her.

“Halloween, 1943.” I replied.

We celebrated her correct answer of October 31st, and I asked if she was passing out suckers. No such luck.

After passing the Blue Band Oral Quiz, she turned the typed label toward me. “Is this information all correct?” Apparently literacy is a requirement for eye surgery. Following my validation of being able to read, she strapped the blue and white band on my right wrist and immediately proceeded to inquire about allergies. Did I mention she had all my pre-registration paperwork?

That paperwork was completed by me personally a week prior and verified by phone the day before. Surely they couldn’t imagine I had somehow contracted a new allergy overnight—especially considering the strict prohibition of “nothing after midnight.” So why was I the subject of third degree interrogation? Regardless of that illogical inquiry, I assured her that my morning shower did not include experimenting with new soap or shampoo…and yes, I do still have a few head hairs deserving of shampoo.

With no amendments necessary for the Allergy Band, she added that bracelet to my right wrist. Must be they had some leftover Fourth of July wrist bands because now my wrist was adorned with Red, White and Blue stripes.

Protocol changed when I responded to her inquiry of which eye Doctor Rosenbaum was going to zap with a laser. When I affirmed it was my right eye, she smeared mascara over my right eye and pulled a yellow band from my folder. Not wanting to ruin the patriotic display on my right wrist, I offered her my left arm. “No, this must go on the right wrist because we are doing surgery on your right eye.

As the triage nurse led me back to the surgery prep area she inquired, “What are we doing for you today?” I succinctly answered, “Cataract surgery.” She immediately sought more information. “Which eye?” Did I mention the blotch of mascara above my RIGHT eye and bright yellow wrist band on my RIGHT wrist…not to mention she was reading my “chart”.

Yes, I realize all the checks and double checks are to ensure I, my eye, and all involved are on the same page. And speaking of pages, there was one more which apparently needed clarifying. My discharge instructions. Such things as “No Bending” required demonstration of acceptable “leaning forward” while keeping eyes straight ahead. This was visual description was requested by Sue because she has had prior experience with my loose interpretation of written restrictions.

After the discharge nurse…and Sue…were satisfied I fully understood the prohibited actions, the nurse mandated that I sign and date the form to clarify that I had received and understood the instructions. Hmmm, I’m still a bit foggy from the drugs administered during surgery, have a pirates patch over one eye and still have cataract fogged lens in the other eye, yet I have to sign the form before they will let me go home. I mentioned these details to the discharge nurse but she only responded; “Just sign the form, Ed”

Just to clarify—I’m not certain what…or, for that matter, where on the form I signed, but they did escort me out of the building.