I was snagged yesterday by Vermont's only state trooper, on a two-lane highway that maybe four other motorists have ever driven.
This morning, about 24 hours later, I was grinding molars, still stressing about my first speeding ticket in years.
That's $130 I could have spent on shoes or gas or physiotherapy on my left hand, which has become a muscled claw after a winter of relentless shoveling.
But then I got an email from Smokers' Helpline.
Help, just when I needed it.
The email was evidently one of the benefits I get from having signed up for the Driven to Quit challenge I mentioned in my first blog post.
The email started off talking about how to manage the triggers that urge people like me to smoke.
Remember the three "A"s, the email said.
As in, avoid stress.
But I could not ignore the gaudy ticket burning a hole in my glove box.
"Don't reach for a cigarette as you usually would," the email said. "Instead, get up and brush your teeth. Alter your response."
If I brush my teeth every time I have a craving, and do so with the gusto with which I smoke a cigarette, I would very quickly scrape away my gums and resemble Skeletor.
But point taken.
So I ate an English muffin covered in peanut butter and gulped down a Coke.
Don't judge. It's a tasty stopgap.
The comforting ritual is also the chief reason I will be fat in two to three months.
"For example," the email suggested, "You are at a BBQ and some of the guests are smoking. You may not be able to avoid or alter the situation, but you can use one of your coping strategies, like positive self-talk, to help you through the challenge. You could say to yourself: 'This is a challenge. It won't last forever. I will get through it.' Or, 'I will be a stronger person for handling it without a cigarette.' "
Talking to myself in public seems drastic, I thought, but when the urge to smoke becomes unbearable I should be prepared to do almost anything to stay quit.
But then, after licking some peanut butter off my gnarled left hand, I wondered how this "Accept" tactic would actually work ...
"Sir, I am Deputy Charles Smithson of the Vermont Highway Patrol. Could I please see your license and registration?"
"Do you know why I stopped you today?"
"You were going 70 in a 55 zone."
"Oh, er, ... This is a challenge ..."
"It won't last forever ..."
"Hands on the dash, sir. Right now."
"I can do this. I am a stronger person."
"What did you say?"
"No, I mean ... smokey smoke ... This is a challenge ..."
"Dispatch ... This is Car Zero One. What? No, I know I don't have back-up. Just clear out a cell, okay Darlene? I'm bringing in a possible DUI for resisting arrest. Ten-four."