After a turn-for -the-worse grotty weather drive to a place I've never been or will want to return to, I found myself sitting- alcohol anonymous style- with 15 other offenders, some of whom I perceived as guarded, offended, resigned, terse, cold, loose and warm. We were thrown together here at the speed awareness course, courtesy of our breaking the speed limit a month or two back. We were as a gathering of unwilling jurors at our own trial.
We were a good mix of young and old as well as differing in shape, sex, colour, opinion and attitude.
I found it hilarious to be each made to share the circumstance of our offence...and the speed we were clocked.
In the end we all agreed that our justifications for extra speed were only excuses. We were guilty! The offended became enlightened and softened, and soon there was a warmth and good spirit in evidence. We'd come to terms with and were at one with officialdom. It was a fair cop! Even the impeccable man in his personalised number plated jaguar, lost his arrogance and distance. I swear it was good material for a sustainable comedy series.
There was a good deal of healthy interaction. It was good. We all wore bold christian name tags and, once everyone became fully aware I was to be called Ken and not Kenneth, the presentations, discussions and videos commenced and the barriers and defences dropped.
I left, four hours later, wishing them all to be on my Christmas card list.
The only unnerving experience was regarding the official visitor who was tucked away in the corner silently taking notes. I caught her on many occasions glaring at me. I'm sure she wasn't staring at others with the same insane intensity. I thought perhaps it was the frequency in which I attempted to inject humour into the proceedings. Whatever it was, it resulted in her looking positively rabid at times. She soon became the only exception to inclusion in my new-found goodwill demeanour and circle of inmate friends.
We were freed at lunch-time clutching a duly signed certificate of course completion. With a shake of hands and a throwing of my name tag onto the desk, I left to practice my new understanding and awareness of speed as I climbed into my little Yaris and followed the Jaguar out of the car park and into the Lincolnshire murky, freezing sleet and rain.