Wednesday, July 13, 2005

close call

I almost got a ticket yesterday. I haven’t gotten a ticket in about 13 years, but that’s a whole different story. I left for work in the morning, after unsuccessfully ransacking my house for my wallet, containing my driver’s license, debit card and money. As my frustration level and anxiety increased, my partner, who leaves later for work, reassured me that it has to be around here somewhere, and he would continue looking for it so I wouldn’t be late to work. I was uncomfortable leaving without my wallet, but time was of the essence, and I had to leave.

I drive a smaller car, especially in comparison to the increase in SUV and other large automobiles that dominate the roads. I was in a left-turn lane, at a busy intersection, and as the procession of cars began to turn through the light, I was unaware that the light had changed back to red two cars ahead of me. Half way through the intersection, I noticed the red arrow while in the middle of the intersection, and a cop car in the oncoming traffic right lane staring right at me. Having no choice, I completed the turn, which promoted him to turn on his lights. Crap. I pulled over, the whole world bottlenecking and ogling past my car to see what was going on, while I rolled down the window and quickly changed the radio from Howard Stern to NPR (and significantly lowered it, too).

The police officer walked up to my window, and I greeted him: “hello, sir,” I tried to cheerily say.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” Of course I know. I at least have a general idea. I observed Officer William something-or-other, and he was an older guy; I bet he has a daughter my age. He seemed nice.

“Yes, sir, I do, and I understand I was wrong.”

“You realize I could have pulled over two cars in front of you, too. Can I get your proof of insurance and driver’s license?”

Panic. Flee! Escape! I handed him my insurance card, and feigned looking for my driver’s license, which was now either in the phantom zone or the dryer-sock dimension. “Sir, I must have left my license at home, I can’t find it. I have an electric bill and my library card, will that help?”

Officer William looked at me from over his standard issue cop sunglasses. “Young lady, do you have a driver’s license?” He looked accusingly at me.

“Why yes, sir, I do, definitely, and there’s no tickets or accidents on my record.” Not in the last 13 years, and prior to that I had 11 tickets and 6 accidents under my belt. He asked me for my date of birth, and told me to sit tight as he went back to his cruiser (with those annoying lights still on) and looked into my background. I started to rummage through my personal belongings in my car (you wouldn’t believe what I tote around with me on a daily basis, my car is an extension of my closet), hoping to find my licence. I was about to give up, and looked down in desperation, and noticed between the seat and the center console was a faint black outline of a rectangular….WALLET! I found it! I was so happy, I wanted to get out of the car and give it to Officer William (but didn’t want to get shot so I stayed in my car, I’m no fool, I watch COPS). When the officer came back over, I went to hand him my license but he told me to hold onto it. He gave back my insurance card, and started lecturing me about traffic safety and the possible consequences of my actions. He concluded with “I don’t like to give out tickets, so here’s a warning.”

I was so relieved I could have hugged him (definitely not appropriate). I thanked him profusely, told him to have a nice day, and still made it to work on time.

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