Problems that used to be just a simple annoyance can become fiscally painful when one is only working erratically. I was actually looking forward to putting a few bucks in the bank with my new freelance gig at Sirius/XM (hosting on the POTUS Channel - watch this space in the coming days), because I was getting a couple of paid days for training, followed by a full week of work. But those dreams went away today, literally in a flash and a thump.
The flash was the telltale signal triggered when I sped past an unfamiliar speed camera on New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park at around 3:30 this morning. If you've read this blog, you know I'm no fan of speed cameras anyway, but THIS particular camera is especially heinous - and perhaps even not quite legal.
Allow me to present my case... I will confess to speeding well above the speed limit. Frankly, I wasn't thinking about speed because I was on the road alone - this being at 3:30am - and because my mind was focused on my new job. It's the placement of the camera that bothers me.
The only place in Maryland where speed cameras are currently legal is in Montgomery County. The location of this camera is in a place where Montgomery County crosses the road for literally just 5 or 6 blocks, with Prince George's County to the north and DC to the south. The camera is located at the bottom of a hill in both directions, so that traffic going either direction will have a natural predilection to be speeding. The camera is not near a school - it's in the middle of a commercial area, so I'm not even sure it's located there legally. But that's beside the point. Any argument the county can make that this is a matter of safety is simply absurd. That speed camera in Takoma Park is a cash grab - pure and simple.
But the Karma Gods were not done with me. On my way home (after carefully poking my way through Takoma Park), I felt a tell tale knocking under my car. I pulled into the parking lot of a high school and sure enough - my right front tire was flat. It has been a couple of years since I've changed a tire. It was warm and muggy out, but thankfully, it was cloudy and it was not yet raining, so I pulled everything apart in the trunk, got out the donut tire and the jack, and 20 minutes later, I was back in business.
The tire that had gone flat had lived a full life, I cut my hand as I pulled it off the wheel on the steel belt that was poking through the rubber, and I knew darn well that the other three tires were not in any better shape, so I took the car up to the tire shop in Olney (so nice to have one in the 'hood), and walked out an hour later with four new tires, a front end alignment and an oil change!
Now that I have a new set of tires for my '97 Honda, I'm good for another 5 years or so!
But with all of my transportation woes today, most of my work for this week has suddenly become pro bono. The only bono I want to consider these days is Sonny Bono. And he's dead.