Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Day In Court

Several months ago, the girls figured out the connection between the Speed Limit signs and our speedometer, realizing those two numbers should match.  They have this annoying helpful way of making sure we don't go even a fraction over the limit.  Last Sunday, my husband was driving us home from church and Reckless caught him going 30 in our 25 neighborhood.  With much exasperation she said, "The speed limit is twenty-five, Dad!"  Like, how many times do I have to tell him that?  Stretch piped up that he was "breaking the law."  If my children's idea of a lawbreaker is their father then the real world is going to take their figurative lunch money every day, because my husband makes Honest Abe look like a hooligan.

But the one time the twins' speed monitoring would have come in handy, they fell down on the job.  Actually, they didn't even show up for work because they were at "kindergarten", or so they say.

It was January and I was coming back from a doctor's appointment.  There had been some numbing and injecting, so I took advantage of my ability to function somewhat normally and stopped at the grocery store on the way home.  Predicting I felt good enough that I'd probably be able to make dinner, I decided to round up ingredients to make something.  I walked into Harris Teeter with no list, no plan, and a growling stomach, so I left with 12 Greek yogurts (2 of each of my favorite flavors because they were on sale!), Smartfood white cheddar popcorn (because it says "Smartfood" and comes in a really elegant black bag that alludes to the promise of being healthy and happy), two new flavors of Wheat Thins I hadn't tried (enough said), and lunch meat.  I completely forgot I had stopped there for dinner ideas.  No one else in my family even likes Greek yogurt.

It was eleven-thirty in the morning at this point and I was driving home south on Capital Boulevard from Wake Forest, in no particular rush.  For those of you unfamiliar with this stretch of highway, it's a free flowing divided four lane at this point and further ahead it slows down and clogs up with traffic, lights, and more lanes when you get into Raleigh.  It was approaching the point where I got off Capital when I saw two sets of blue lights up ahead on the right shoulder of the road.  I assumed it was an accident and got over in the left lane.  I was gonna turn left soon anyway.  I could already taste my blueberry yogurt, visions of it started dancing in my head, and, wait, rearview mirror!  Uh, oh, my heart just stopped.

I kept driving because I don't like to park my minivan in the middle of a highway with oncoming  vehicles.  I figured I would pull into the Sheetz that I was about to pass by anyway.  Meanwhile, the original two police cars were still terrorizing motorists on the side of the road and now a fourth one was flashing its lights at a sedan two cars behind me.  So, here I am in the left turn lane, blinker sounding like a ticking time bomb, holding my breath, waiting for a green arrow to allow me to turn down the side street and pull over at Sheetz.  Well, apparently, I was a flight risk or too dangerous to be trusted, because the cop actually got out of his car and approached me at the light, pressing me for my driver's license.  "I was going to pull over at the gas station," I assured him.  Because, duh, if I was going to flee the scene of my violent crimes, I'd go ahead and turn left on red to get away.

"Just pull into that empty church parking lot when the light changes," he said, "But hand me your license now."  I gave the officer my license, even though I knew it was illegal to drive without a license and we both knew I was about to keep driving.  It had sting operation written all over it.

We pulled into the empty church lot and so did the sedan behind me and his police escort.  Our entrance startled some pants-around-my-middle-thigh-undies-on-full-display-hoodlums who were loitering on the edge of the parking lot, under this wooden canopy, rolling & sharing their own "cigarettes".  They stuffed their hands in their pockets, which were by their knees, and kept darting their eyes and milling around nervously until they realized it was the mom in the minivan the Po-Po was trying to take down.

The officer asked if I knew how fast I was going.  "No."  Luckily he didn't ask if I knew what the speed limit was because I might've guessed that wrong and he probably wouldn't have taken "That's my six year old's job" as an excuse.  He claimed I was going 68 in a 55.  I said, "Really, I don't think so.  It didn't seem that fast."

Next he asked if I was in a hurry.  "Maybe late for a lunch date?"  I think he was trying to help come up with an excuse, because he'd been standing there for long enough that I should've been launching some by now.  "No, just going home."  Can I get on with that now?

He sort of peered around in my van (making sure I wasn't smuggling heroin for the Columbians, of course) and then said, "I'm going to need your registration."  Okay?  Wonder what that looks like.  I've only been pulled over two other times in my life.  Once when I was twenty and going ninety-something in a seventy-five, coming back to Texas from Colorado, and there are no obstacles on those long Interstates in Kansas, so it's easy to get carried away.  The other time I was leaving the hospital with a very sick kid and the police are less forgiving than if you're on the way to the hospital with a very sick kid.  But I thought the registration was probably in the glove box though, so I found two official looking paper thingies in there and offered him both.  He took the one that wasn't my voter registration card and said, "It's this one."  Then he handed it back and said, "It's supposed to be signed.  I could write you another ticket for not signing it.  But just go ahead and sign it now."

That was the point I started getting irritated because A) why does he expect me to know something useless and pointless like that and B) why is that illegal and C) the numbing was wearing off and my neck hurt!  And isn't there a bank being robbed somewhere or, I don't know, some dope being sold - like thirty feet away from us!

He went back to his cruiser long enough to have lunch, while my truckload of yogurt was going bad in the van.  I mean, Greek yogurt is halfway to spoiled anyway.  And my stomach was really growling, but I figured getting out my bag of popcorn and having a snack wasn't going to help me get off.  The officer ended up giving me a ticket for going 9 over and suggested I go to court because with my clean record, I could probably walk out with just court costs and not have my insurance affected.   He made it all sound like no big deal, easy even.  It was all I could do not to point out that him leaving me alone and tearing up that ticket would be even easier.  But I was aware of my right to remain silent and for once in my life I exercised that right.

Over two months later, I had my day in court.  The judge thought the ticket was as ludicrous as I did and all but apologized for me having to drive down there to straighten it out.  Which was not easy, for the record, because downtown has lots of confusing one way streets and I had to find a parking garage and the courthouse and the right courtroom, and the security guards downstairs stole my tiny little blue sewing scissors my mom got me to keep in my purse and cut rogue strings off with.  Or break out of jail with, they're all-purpose, I guess.


1 comment:

  1. I love it! I'm glad you're back - I've missed reading your blog/life :-)