Monday, April 10, 2006

Turn Off Those Lights! You're Blinding Me!

Most of us have experienced it at least once. You're driving merrily down the road without a care in the world when the interior of your car becomes suddenly illuminated with alternating red and blue light. You instinctively pull over and an unsmiling biped in an official looking, sharply creased uniform informs you that you have: 1.) been speeding, 2.) run a red light, or 3.) failed to come to a complete stop at some weird octagonal object screwed to a metal pole.

This happened to me today, or a similar experience did. I was travelling, rather merrily, down a rural highway on my way back to Grand Rapids. I had just passed through the small town of Kent City, where the speed limit is 25 mph. Now, the speed limit increases from 25 to 55 mph within a short distance as you leave town and hit the county road. So, I drove out of Kent City and, since I drive this way quite often, began to accelerate out of habit. It was then that I spotted the black, unmarked vehicle. Quickly, I checked my speedometer and saw I was going 40 mph. Looking up, I saw the speed limit sign, which read 35 mph.

"Ah," I thought. "Nobody's going to pull me over for going 5 mph over the limit." So, I did not bother to reduce my speed and it was likely I had already been clocked anyway.

Imagine my sinking heart when I saw the car pull from the lot where it had been waiting and tuck in behind me. The rooftop lights were flashing gleefully, as if they had done something clever, and I knew I had bought the farm.

The officer was young, probably my age--mid to late twenties, and was obviously relishing his job as a peace officer. His hair was carefully moussed and he wore wrap-around sunglasses and tight-fitting, black leather gloves. He approached the side of my vehicle cautiously. Watching him in my side view mirror, I quickly began formulating iron-clad excuses. Uhhhhh......

Before I could think of one, he was at the window. Actually, standing just behind the window, just in case I was hiding an AK-47 in the glove compartment.

"Sheriff Department," he announced.

"Ah! That is why you're wearing that brown uniform! I thought maybe you were the UPS man running me down to deliver a frightfully important package!" Actually, I said nothing of the kind, but wanted to dreadfully.

"License, registration, and insurance."

"Here you go," I said, shoving the items one at a time up his left nostril. (Okay, so I'm a fiction writer.)

After leaving me to wait the obligatory seven hours, he returned with my information, along with another piece of paper that must have slipped in by mistake. Aw, nuts.

In all fairness, he did reduce the ticket and that was kind of him. Technically, I was speeding and he had every right to pull me over and beat me with his baton, but I just wasn't in the mood for that kind of frivolity. Besides, I hate getting fined on technicalities. Well, let the officer have his fun. Just wait until the revolution comes...


Theseus said...

funny blog, i got pulled for a 2mph over the speed limit once, 72 in a 70. it was for suspicion though i think, the trooper never told me why except that i was speeding.

Jack W. Regan said...

Oh, brother. That's just wrong.

Jack W. Regan said...

Yes, and I was a bitter, bitter man when I wrote this piece.