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Do NOT panic. Rain isn't even in the forecast

07/24/08

It was God’s way of reminding me that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

My daughter, Karilea, took an online defensive driving course (DDC) a couple of weeks ago, not so much to keep up-to-date on safe driving practices as to avoid paying a ticket and keep her driving record clean.

Since I have been a relatively good girl recently, I haven’t taken defensive driving in a while, which has severely limited my knowledge of dangers I didn’t hear about the first five times I attended class.

But my daughter felt the need to get me up to speed - no pun intended - on everything you need to do before, during and after driving to keep from dying.

As luck would have it, she chose to take the course on her laptop, sitting on my bed while I was watching my favorite TV show, Ghost Hunters, even though I made it clear I had done my time in the bad driver hot seat.

Plus, it was a brand-new episode of Ghost Hunters.

The first thing she told me was that each unit had some tip about the perils of bad drivers followed by a heartfelt warning, “DO NOT PANIC.”

She continued giving me tidbits of information about what she was learning, which I believe became a way of coping and I felt her pain.

Just not enough to quit watching Ghost Hunters and listen.

“Keeping your hands at 10 and 2 is no longer acceptable. It is now 8 and 4,” she told me at the precise moment that Jason and Grant believed they heard a ghost’s voice.

I wrapped a pillow around my head backwards to create a visible force field, and kept my hands in the 8 and 4 positions.

Not discouraged by my hint, she continued, “Be wary of unpredictable pedestrians carrying umbrellas.” And “Should you encounter a pedestrian carrying an umbrella, DO NOT PANIC.”

I assured her I had only panicked once at the sight of an umbrella-carrying pedestrian, and only because it was a very ugly umbrella, and it didn’t cause a wreck.

I missed Steve and Tango capturing electronic voice phenomenon because she was explaining why loose items (dangerous projectiles) in the back window should be tied down in the event that you encounter an unbrella-weilding pedestrian and have a head-on collision.

I didn’t panic. The only things in my back window are a dead winged creature and a leaf that floated into my car.

A few days later, I received a letter from a city court in a small town near Lubbock where I had received a ticket two years ago while I was en route to move my son into the dorms at Texas Tech.

I swear, the letter said:
“Dear Kari Collins,
Our records indicate that you have not completed a Drivers Saftey (sic) Course. Youre (sic) time has expired. You have TEN Days to contact our court.

If you have any questions, please call me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.

Sincerely,
Monica”

I panicked. Then I called the court.

Talking to the court clerk, I explained that I had paid the ticket....two years ago. She said she knew that, but that the judge in this town really likes them to send out letters to inform people that they missed the defensive driving course boat.

I explained to her that if I hadn’t paid the ticket and was waiting to see just how long they would give me to take defensive driving, there would be a warrant out for my arrest which would have been enforced during my most recent unfortunate traffic stop in Wichita Falls last month.

This, in turn, would lead to me being extradited to her town where I could keep the judge entertained for hours from my jail cell with my second-hand knowledge of the Texas defensive driving course.

She didn’t think I was funny.

So I asked her if they had problems in their town with traffic accidents due to pedestrians carrying umbrellas.

That was the last time I talked to Monica.