I spent my Saturday at traffic school. It was advertised as Comedy Traffic School. The instructor was not the comedienne, the students were.
We went around the room sharing how we got our tickets. As we went, I got more and more nervous because mine was so stupid and boring compared to the others (see my Sept. 6th 2007 entry for how I got this ticket).
There was the straight-haired college student, doing crosswords, reading Harry Potter, drinking a can of guava juice, and telling us how she got a ticket because she was speeding because she was listening to a really bad song and she also wore her seatbelt under her arm.
There was Mr. Proud Prius Driver who got a ticket for speeding even though he thought cops never gave tickets to Prius drivers.
There was the blond 50 year old woman with a big smile who was enjoying life and listening to a good song, in her daughter's car, cruising down Highway 5 doing about 100 mph. When she was pulled over by, in her words, a really HOT cop, she whipped out a picture of her brother in his police uniform and asked if that would help her. I guess it did and she was written up for a slower speed and qualified for traffic school.
There was the local very successful real estate agent, a man whose name I instantly recognized.
There was the 16 year old boy who just got his license and got a ticket for speeding but insisted he didn't deserve the ticket, even though he was speeding.
There was Vladamir, a Russian in dark glasses, dark slacks and dark turtleneck, with an accent so thick, we couldn't understand what his ticket was for. The instructor told us all that he parked and re-parked his shiny black car in the parking lot three times before the class started, so stay away from it. Vladamir's cell phone went off five times during the class, each time blaring Russian ballet music that the instructor told him to get rid of.
There was Chris, who was very drowsy and trying to get some shut-eye. When it came his time to share, he mumbled something about getting a ticket on his motorcycle. He looked hung over in a bad way. Then I thought maybe he's stoned. No, I know he's stoned.
Then, my favorite fellow student Monty Montgomery introduced himself. He's about twenty and just recently got his license. He rode his bike to traffic school though. He is very animated, friendly, and an excellent story-teller, even using sound effects. He makes bikes, crazy bikes, 100% from parts he finds in the landfill. He got his ticket because he was driving extremely recklessly and ran two cars off the road. One of them was a cop. Then it turned out the cop was an acquaintance from high school, so got off with traffic school instead of jail.
Let's see, what did I learn at traffic school?
Don't eat tacos while driving. They are the number one kind of food eaten by people when they get in an accident.
I learned that in the absence of any other tools, you can take an injured deer out of it's misery with a skateboard (this from Monty of course).
I learned that there is actually a law against transporting anyone in your trunk.
But the best thing I got out of traffic school was this video I've included below. Read this before you watch it:
There are two teams, the white and the black shirts. Each team has three people. Watch carefully and count how many passes the WHITE team makes. Do it now. Don't read the directions below until after you have done this.
Read the rest once you have watched it once or twice.
Now watch without counting.
Notice anything unusual? How did you miss that? Because you focused on the task at hand. A classic human factor to disregard information you are not looking for when given a task. This can be very dangerous if everyone on a team is focused on a specific task.
I am not entirely sure how this relates to driving. It might be that if you are focused on eating a taco, you will get in an accident.