Archive | August, 2008

Speed(ing ticket)!

24 Aug
I drive fast, probably in response to my dad’s unbearably slow driving habit. Or simply perhaps because I like it. I feel I have to say I’m prudent and I’ve never been in an accident. I’ve been driving for 13 years.

Last week there was a Gendarmerie unmarked car parked on the side of the road, with a small radar attached at the back of it, to measure I was above the speed limit. The flash shone just as I was realizing what the suspicious protuberance at the back of the car might me. I had no idea how fast I was driving, and there was no other car in front or behind to give me some perspective on speed. I felt I was driving at a reasonable speed :)

A week later I received by post the “avis de contravention au code de la route”. 97 km/h (60 mph). That is 7 km/h (4 mph) above the limit. The fine is EUr 68 but only EUR 45 if I pay within 2 weeks. If I don’t pay within 45 days, then it’s EUR 180.

So I’ve been thinking about speed, speed limit, common good sense and that kind of things.

My denial of responsibility didn’t last long, but my first reaction was to find somebody to blame for the flash. And that was the person I had been stuck behind for too long, right before I was able to pass them and speed up a bit. This guy was driving well below the speed limit. I’ve always been pretty annoyed with people driving below the speed limit, now they *upset* me.

I thought also that I was disappointed (ashamed, even) to enter the public record for such an unremarkable performance! It’s possible that my speedometer indicated I was driving as fast as 110 km/h. But still. I was reminded of the French comics “Joe Barr Team”. One of the bikers brings his ticket to the police, visibly unhappy, telling them their friggin’ radar is borken. He was driving way faster in that curve :) No, really, it’s disappointing. Especially considering I could have driven up to 20 km/h above the limit for the same fine!

Visited 21 countries (9.33%)

6 Aug

[This post originally appeared in Dullicious, where I blogged as Barbie-dull for several years.]

Visited countries: 21 (9.33%)

Visited countries: 21 (9.33%)

I added Czech Republic to the list of countries I visited. That was last Summer. Updating the map of visited countries is a pretext really, as I meant to blog about travels, after chatting with an old friend of mine.

He realized he didn’t know me as well as he thought when I told him I wasn’t actually seeking to travel. I consider myself extremely fortunate that my work took me to many incredible places. And I’m very grateful to the friends and lovers who engineered my personal travels.

I like to be somewhere else. It is all that is around travelling that is stressful. Getting used to the idea of it first, which takes some time. It is like a quiet struggle between the curious me and the stay-at-home me. This struggle may last until the very last moment. The curious me knows it is going to be wonderful and how this should be a motivation. The other me knows it will be tiring, expensive. The other me knows the amount of work that will await upon returning.

Then there is packing. An additional burden that would not happen if I were to stay home. I pack lightly, quickly and most of the time efficiently. I have learnt that after years of travelling for W3C. Of course, unpacking is equally burdensome. It means laundry.

Also, there is the stress of the journey, be that flying or driving or else (we took a ferry recently for our holiday in Corsica and Sardinia). Flying is the worst. Not that I’m afraid to be on a plane. It’s rather that I hate airport so-called security. What a gigantic waste of time and what a monumental buffoonery. I am exaggerating for emphasis.

At least, none of my anxiety was ever turned towards dreading any danger, or fearing I wouldn’t like the place. I have enjoyed all of my travels so far.

So at last, there is being somewhere else. Enjoying different settings, foods, climate, a different culture, sometimes a different language. Taking photos. Thinking how incredibly lucky I am to be there. Enjoying the compagny. Taking a break from the everyday life. Feeling how tangibly time passes faster.

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