Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Close Call

I kept trying to go to Crooks for honeysuckle sorbet while I was in Chapel Hill, but they were never open when I would go there. Oh well... I have the recipe. It's just that there is no honeysuckle in New York, and even if there were, I don't think I would want to eat it.

But luck was on my side in other areas. This morning I was headed to a friend's house, driving my mom's truck. Because the last car I owned was a clunker and made lots of loud, though harmless noises, and was slow to accelerate, I find that driving my parents cars is so easy and enjoyable that it's dangerous. My mom's truck accelerates so smoothly and silently that I didn't even realize I was cruising at 50 mph in a school zone until I saw the cop car parked on the grassy shoulder. As soon as I saw him, his lights turned on and he rolled out behind me, so I immediately pulled over. I couldn't believe it! Now I felt a little of what my brother must have been feeling three days before when he found himself on the wrong side of a few traffic laws. But instead of evasion, I chose to sit tight, pulled out my license and found my mom's registration in the glove compartment, so when the officer sidled up to my window, I was ready for him.

I hope I looked suitably remorseful and terrified, as well as sweet and innocent with the huge bucketful of peonies that I was taking to Alison's house. In fact I was terrified, because when the officer looked at my license and asked if it was still my current address, I didn't even hear the question and just said yes, even though I haven't lived at that address in two years. But then when I realized what I'd said, I was too embarrassed to correct myself. He also asked if I'd received any tickets in the past three years and if I knew what I had done wrong. I said no and yes, and he went back to his car.

The minutes dragged on while I sat there waiting for my fate to be determined. I wondered how much money a speeding ticket would be, and I thought I'd probably just pay it and never tell my parents because they have enough troubles as it is without me adding to them. I figured that the policeman knew by now that I had lied to him about my address, and I wondered if I'd get a ticket for lying to a police officer. I mostly just wondered what was taking so long... It was embarrassing to have other cars driving by smugly, passing the scene with deliberate slowness.

Finally the policeman came back to my window, and asked if I have any relatives in law enforcement. Nooooo, I said slowly, wondering why he would even ask that. He said, "I saw the sticker on the back of your car." I had no idea what he was talking about, but I couldn't imagine my mom putting a police sticker on her car, so I said that it must have been there when she bought the car last year. "So..." the policeman continued, "What you're saying is you know people in law enforcement?" Then it dawned on me what he was trying to do, and I quickly agreed, "Oh, um, yes I do!"

"Slow down for me," said the policeman, handing me back my license, and sending me on my way, free into the world. It was such a relief! No ticket, no worries. I drove very slowly and carefully for the rest of the day, of course. But, looking back, I'm a little miffed that he would rather let me go on the pretext of having connections in law enforcement instead of the fact that I have not had a speeding ticket since 1998. Oh well. Whatever it takes.

When I got to Alison's house I looked and saw that the sticker on the back of my mom's truck says "Honorary Member of the Sheriff's Association" or something like that, with a police badge picture on it. I later learned that it was a sticker my dad got for contributing to the local Sheriff's Department. Who knew it would come in handy? Also, Alison told me that it was a good thing I lied about my address because otherwise my license might have been considered invalid, and I really would have gotten a ticket! But I honestly don't even know why I lied about that--it just came out.


I'm back in New York now, but leaving for Utah tomorrow, to attend my grandmother's funeral. It will involve a family reunion long overdue, and probably a few adventures. I'll be writing.

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