Driving my porch

Every evening possible I prefer to spend time sitting on my porch, reading the paper, talking to my wife, petting my dog and saying hello to neighbors who are out for a stroll. It's a small town deal, but not easily experienced in large urban areas.

Most of Ashland's drivers are courteous, observant and respectful as they make their way to and fro, though an increasing number have a different slant on life. It is to the latter that I pen this column.

I live in a section of B Street in which the width of the street is narrow for several blocks and does not allow for two-way traffic. It requires patience, deference and just plain good manners to transit. Lately, I've noticed that some drivers feel compelled to relive the last showing of a NASCAR event as they rocket down the narrow lane at breathtaking speeds, despite the presence of kids, pets, opening doors and a plentitude of pedestrians who, in this normally quiet residential zone, cross the street where they find it, not feeling it necessary to plod down to the corner to cross then hoof it back up the other side to help a neighbor unload a few sacks of topsoil from the Grange Co-Op.

The events of the last few weeks have given me pause for concern.

It is with increased frequency that I observe vehicles traveling at 50 plus miles per hour in an effort to slip through the narrows and shave a few seconds of their estimated time of arrival. That they risk the lives of us and our dependents, Spooky included, doesn't seem to matter one bit as they sprint like bulls towards and unseen toreador's red cape. When mixed with the frequent stop-sign runners, more than a few overturned cars have resulted.

So, supposedly safe at home last evening, seated on the front porch with several other porch-sitters in view, I heard the roar of an engine fast approaching. A man, apparently deep in a heated discussion as indicated by the gestures made by his free hand, came past the house clearly at Interstate speeds. When I mentioned his free hand, it referred to the one that was not cradling his cell phone, into which he was breathing fire. When he gesticulated with said underutilized hand the steering of his rocket was left up to his knees. Oh, and he was reading some paperwork which was flying around the dashboard.

I immediately took to the sidewalk, but alas, he was already two blocks away and heading into a smoking turn as he slipped out of sight. I would have fumed about the incident, but while looking far down the street I saw what at first appeared to be a mirage shimmering in the late afternoon heat. It was a mere dot on the horizon, yet was putting on weight faster than twins wolfing down corn dogs at the county fair.

It seemed like only two seconds later this nitro/methane top-fuel contestant had blown by the house, spinning me like a leaf in tornado alley. Clearly something had to be done and, well, I was the one to do it. I loped to my laptop, did some Googling and ordered the parts of my plan to be delivered overnight.

With FedEx at my back and UPS running interference I soon had my radar gun linked to my high-resolution digital camera, tying them both to remote wireless printers that were placed on a curbside stand two blocks in either direction. Whenever someone drove over 25 miles per hour past my house a flashing yellow light alerted them to pull over, roll down their window and grab their citation. Things were going well until the system gave a speeding ticket to the municipal judge, who clearly was not amused.

My wife, Annette, coming home from showing a house to a buyer, greeted me with"

"How did the day go, Dudley Do-Right?"

My only response was: "I'm not in a rush to judgment, at the moment."

Lance was last seen buying remote-operated spike strips, a badge and mirrored sunglasses. Please plead guilty, but under the speed limit, at lance@journalist.com.

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