Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I shot the sheriff . . .

Ok, so picture this.

Tegan, the girls, and I are heading home tonight after our weekly bible study at our friend's home in Hilliard. We pull out of their community onto a connector road about 9 pm. It's dark, no traffic. They Might Be Giant's NO! is playing softly into the back seats where Ruth and Ariel are bundled and beginning to get sleepy.

T and I are chatting about our upcoming anniversary trip to San Francisco and the plans that we have made or desperately need to make. I pull away from a traffic light flashing red and accelerate into a left turn.

Halfway down the connector road we see a police car, going the other way. It turns on its lights, slows, turns, and settles in behind us.


Busted . . . for speeding. 49 in a 35.

As I pull over, remaining very calm (and secretly hoping that the bucolic nature of my passengers--it's Rockwellian, if you recall--will encourage the officer to give me a warning) I think back to the two previous times that this has occurred to me.

First, while a sophomore in college. I was rushing back across the pinewoods, coastlands of eastern Georgia, going from my home in Tifton to my school in Statesboro. It was a Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, so I had spent the extra day at home. But my laundry had taken longer to finish than I though. I had to get back to campus by 7 for a Monday night English film that I was required to see. None of that would have been a problem, but twice while crossing through small Georgia towns, I was stopped by MLK, Jr. parades that halted all through traffic on the GA state routes I was on. So, halfway to Statesboro, I was hauling across a really long bridge over a river gorge and a trooper noticed he. I think I was doing 50+ in a 35. Anyway, I had to pay that one. Being a single college student is NOT Rockwellian in nature and therefore deadly.

The second time was also in college. My roommate, Rampant Fox, and I were on our way back to school from Atlanta, just having enjoyed Paul Simon's Rhythm of the Saints tour stop at the Omni. It was about 2:30 or 3 in the morning. I woke up from a car-induced doze (RF was driving, naturally) to see the flashing blues in the rear-view mirror. I don't remember if we got off with a warning there or not--I was probably dozing again, and might have (on current reflection) seemed a bit suspicious in such a state.

Tonight, however, T and I sat patiently as one of Hilliard's finest took my "operators permit" and proof of insurance and did whatever voodoo he do in his cruiser behind us. I noticed that (for some, still unknown, reason) another police car pulled up behind his. I suppose they chatted--maybe about getting coffee and donuts after dealing with me? But that ended. I kept hoping that none of the cars passing us were the other members of our bible study group . . .

The officer came back and only gave us a warning (yeah!). But, it was a nice lesson for Ariel, who mused that they only "put bad people in jail." We reminded her that laws are like rules that mommies and daddies set or that the teachers at school have. Even good people sometimes break them and the policemen are there to enforce the law and give out punishment when necessary.

So, next time I'm in Hilliard, I'd better watch it . . . I've been warned. No more lead-footing for me.

1 comment:

Spec said...

You are a lucky devil Burb. I, like you, have been pulled over twice and got away with a warning both times. In both cases I really should have gotten a ticket, but I was a rich white kid in a rich white town so I got away with everything. The first, in case you're interested, was in the little town of Pennington, NJ where I grew up. I ran two stop signs and was driving 50 in a 25 (yes that's double the speed limit). I was pulled over by two cops, the only two in the entire town, and was asked for my license. Since I only lived about a block away and the cops knew my parents, I got off with just a warning and a nod.
The second time I got pulled over was in Princeton, NJ. This time I wasn't speeding, I was stalking two girls in a car ahead of me. Or at least that's what the cop thought. He pulled me over, along with the two girls ahead of me who happened to be my friends from high school who I was following home after work. Since it was well past midnight and the rest of the town was deserted, it was obvious that I was following the girls and caused some alarm. But, with no illegal activity taking place, I was warned again, this time to not follow cars so closely. Oh, and, don't stalk people.