Planes, Trains, Automobiles… What Ever Happened To Horses?

Last week I was abandoned – almost for good, as I later found out. My three best friends at Colgate departed Thursday afternoon for Westchester – leaving the dork (that’s me, folks) to attend her Friday class. I spent most of my long weekend alternating between work and Food Network binges, and was both elated and surprised when, on Sunday evening, my friends arrived in a different car than the one in which they had left. Turns out that on the way to Westchester, my friends were broadsided by a semi that was pulling out into their lane. Everyone was all right, thank God, and while we’re at it, thank God the truck was only going about 10 miles per hour. I thought to myself how nice it would be if everyone still drove horse-drawn carriages – or just horses, come to think of it. As a sort of celebratory, we’re-not-dead dinner, we decided to go to the Lincklaen House, a lovely little hotel-restaurant in Cazenovia. Our new car, for the moment, was my friend’s mother’s black BMW, which, I suppose, could be considered a pleasant mode of transportation – next to a horse-drawn carriage, that is. I was deemed the driver for the evening (which, after a summer of driving a tank-like Volvo, was a-okay with me) and we were on our way. Just past Tops, going a steady 39 mph, I saw the homey, twinkling lights of the Hamilton P.D. behind me. An officer, who looked like the personification of a WWII German submarine, sidled up to my window and growled in a spectacular smoker’s voice “You a student?””Yes, officer,” I said, smiling carefully and visualizing Bambi as I made my eyes as big as possible. “What seems to be the problem?” “You know the speed limit in the village?” He asked, ominously. “I thought it was 40 mph along this stretch,” I murmured. “Nope, not by Tops,” he said. “You got your license?” Excellent, I thought. Now I get to show him my vertical Massachusetts under-21 license. He looked at it skeptically and mumbled something. Now, not wanting to seem like an idiot, I quickly ran through the possible things he could have said: I discounted “What the hell kind of a license is this?” and “You don’t look like you’re 5’3”,” and decided he must have said “Where do you go to school?” “Colgate,” I pronounced proudly, quite pleased at my semantic skill. He leaned in, not-so-subtly sniffed, and said, louder “What year are you?” “Oh! Uh, junior,” I said, kicking myself for being dehydrated and therefore not being able to burst into tears on cue. “Uh-huh,” said the officer, adjusting his belt and walking back to his car. “Okay,” someone said from the backseat, “now he’s going to run a check and practice his lines for a few minutes.” Lo and behold, he came back a few minutes later, sucked in a breath, put his weight on his back leg and said, “You buying dinner?” “I am now!” I said, wincing. “Well all right,” he grunted, “and slow it down.” On the way back home we checked the speed limit outside of Tops: 40 mph. I always liked horses.