Gumby and me in the HOV

An Oregon woman attempted to disguise a giant teddy bear as an additional human passenger in order to travel in the high occupancy vehicle lane “and now faces a $260 ticket for the stunt, Portland ABC affiliate KATU reports.”

This is nothing new.

When I moved to Connecticut in 1994, I was living east of Hartford and working on the west side of Hartford, requiring me to travel through the city on Interstate 84 every morning. The traffic was horrendous. For reasons I will never understand, back in those days I-84 went from a three-lane highway down to a single lane as it entered the city, guaranteeing a delay for anyone traveling my route.

However, there was an HOV lane that allowed motorists to bypass this insanity and pick up I-84 after it had re-expanded to three lanes in the city.

Being young, foolish, daring and impatient, I placed my five-foot tall inflatable Gumby doll on the seat beside me (a relic from my high school days) and equipped it with a tee-shirt and a baseball cap. For almost two years, I was able to use the HOV lane on a daily basis and was never stopped by the police, even as others around me were being pulled over and ticketed for driving solo.

Not the most noble thing I’ve ever done, but as my students will tell you, the thing I despise most in life is wasted time, and the only time I lose my temper is when I’m stuck in traffic. 

Something had to give.