My Comma Fantasy
A Daydream Yet Unfilled
I’ve never been arrested. Being somewhat of a romantic, I always imagined that if I were, it would be for protesting the deforestation of some inconsequential trees. These days, I have another kind of fantasy. In this one, I’m driving down the road at night – the time when it’s too late for anyone to care about speed limits and I'm too tired to notice I just missed my exit. Unfortunately, the next place to turn around is a long 18-miles away and with the gas prices rising and my gas meter falling, I’m despairing of ever getting back with money and machine intact. That’s when I see it: a blissful little entry where I can cross the median and turn the caboose around. The problem? The enormous, bright sign glaring out at me: No U Turn.
In my fantasy, I immediately fall into a moral dilemma. Surely, I must always aspire to be a good driver and uphold the laws of traffic? Is that not my sacred duty as a citizen? Yet my eyes are far too droopy and my wallet far too empty to make the 36-mile trek back to where I need to be. Reluctantly, I pull into the place directly in front of the “No U Turn Sign.” By this point in time, my conscience is scalding me like fire and the dilemma is enough to make hyperactive children tired. I am burdened by my possible wrongdoing.
Just then, a solution alights in my mind. Pulling into the median, I step swiftly around to the back seat and grab my can of black spray paint. Walking confidently to the odious sign, I hastily assuage my conscience. Then, stepping back to admire my work for just a moment, I rush back to the car. Home soon and warm covers await, I think. Completing my now perfectly legal action of U-turning, I nevertheless see bright lights follow behind me just moments after I enter into the other, desirable strip of highway.
Cops. Just what I need. I hastily push the can of spray paint under my driver’s seat. Moments later, a cop comes to my window. “Ma’am,” the cop begins, his voice flat, no doubt dulled from a long, eventless night. “Are you aware that you committed an illegal U-Turn?”
I frown innocently at the cop. He seems like a nice man. “According to the sign, it wasn’t illegal,” I reply.
The cop gives me a blank stare but turns when I point out the sign. Not so much as batting an eye, he turns back. “I see I am in error. Have a safe night.”
“You too,” I reply. Then, on impulse, I call out, “Do you want to go first?”
The cop shrugs me off. “No, you first,” he says.
By the time I am back to driving down the highway, I am languishing in the fantasy of having been apprehended. But I suppose that isn’t likely when I go around with my trusty comma. Nothing like a comma to get the job done. Driving off into the night, I smile, wondering how many others would now be able to break the law. How long would it be before they erased my little, seemingly inconsequential addition?
The Color of My Dream
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