Taken by Bacon
So, I was on my way home last night, tooling down the expressway at a comfortable 85mph, windows down, wind running through my scalp and talking to my daughter on my cell's speaker phone. As I rounded a curve in the road I spotted, hiding in some weeds on the median, a police officer taking aim on me with his radar gun. I let out a stream of colorful adjectives under my breath and slammed on the brakes, hoping to rapidly slow my velocity down to a level that would appear more favorable to representatives of the local law enforcement community. As I passed the patrol car and spotted him merging into traffic from my rear view mirror, I began to suspect that I had not slowed down fast enough. The patrol car kept its distance at first, keeping pace with me for about a mile while, I assume, he ran my license plate through the system.
Then, he ran up, got on my tail and hit the lights. The next stream of colloquialisms that escaped my lips were not uttered under my breath. In fact, they were loud enough for my daughter to hear through my phone and as I was making my way to the far right shoulder, she was constantly reminding me that I was not exactly using vocabulary common to polite society. She then asked me why I swore and I slipped up, doing something that I knew I should never do if I hoped to raise my daughter into a responsible, moral and trustworthy adult: I told her the truth.
Now, my daughter is not yet five and really only knows what police officers do from what she has seen on TV. This had become increasingly evident when she has a temper tantrum and threatens to call the police and have us hauled off to jail if we do not give her what she wants, such as a new Barbie, some more desert or a later bedtime so that she can catch reruns of Beavis and Butthead with Dad. When I told her that I was getting stopped by the police, she went into meltdown mode and started bawling, apparently having visions of me being sent to Attica to shiv snitches and get back rubs from bikers. She was in hysterics while I rummaged through my wallet for my license, registration and proof of insurance. As the officer approached the window of my car, a little girl's voice was bellowing from the speaker on my cell phone, "YOU'RE GOING TO JAIL!"
"I'm not going to jail sweat pea," I said, trying to soothe her. "I wasn't going fast enough for that." I then remembered that I was going pretty damn fast and did not know if that was a safe assumption. I turned my head towards the officer and sheepishly asked, "I wasn't, was I?"
He shook his head no while his _expression displayed a touch of irritation at the fact that I was talking on the phone in the midst of a traffic stop. Knowing first hand the dangers of irritating armed individuals, I told my daughter that I would call back and ended the call. After the call was terminated, the officer leaned a little closer to me and asked, "Did you know how fast you were going?"
"Not until I saw you." Without another word, the policeman took my license and related paperwork and returned to his vehicle.
Coincidentally, I have been with my new job less than a week. I now have to get up at 4:30am, a time that, not all that long ago, I would have considered a respectable hour to go to bed. Fortunately, I do not have a lot of idle time to get tired during but I do notice that as soon as I become idle, I get hit with incredible fatigue almost instantly. As the officer appeared to be taking his time figuring out what he was going to do with me, I found myself struggling to stay awake. I wanted to light a cigarette but did not have an ashtray handy and did not want the cop to top off my civil infraction with a charge of littering on it as well. For a brief second, I even wondered what would happen if I just took off and went home. It was not that I was afraid of arrest, unable to pay the fine or even thought I would get away with it (the cop already had my address at that point so they would have a pretty good idea of where I was going). I just figured that drowsiness would not be much of an issue over the course of the 65 miles I still had left to drive if I had an armada of angry wailing police cars in my wake to keep me occupied. In the end though, I just sat there and waited.
By the time the officer finally exited his car, I could barely keep my eyes open. I perked up a little bit by the time he got to my door and did the best that I could to look alert while I took my paperwork back along with an extra slip of parchment from the City of Lincoln Park, MI. As I did this, the officer looked at me and asked, "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine." I answered, a bit befuddled. "Why?"
"Your eyes are all red."
I looked into my rear view mirror and saw that, indeed, my eyes looked like I had just been through cataract surgery while under the influence of some herbal sedative the anestheiologist had scored at a Grateful Dead concert. Not wanting the officer to get the wrong impression, I turned to him and said, "I'm sorry. I just heard that Bob Denver died."
"Bob who?" asked the cop.
"Bob Denver. Gilligan. From Gilligan's Island."
The cop took a couple of suspicious steps back away from my car almost as if, from some sort of past experience, he suspected a secret danger lurked just below the surface of a Gilligan's Island fanatic whose eye whites had gone Rastafarian red. "I only wrote you up for 5 mph over the speed limit. You can go now."
He cut me a pretty decent break but I suspect that bitch is still going to end up costing me over a hundred bucks.