Actually, I got two speeding tickets in one week, and then I almost went to jail. I still need to pay the second ticket--ug!
I have the worst luck with cops--ever. I should write a book about my luck with officers.
You wouldn't believe some of the things that have happened to me. Like the time I got a speeding ticket when I was in labor. The cop wouldn't believe me, and said I didn't look far enough along. Well, Officer OBGYN, I was in labor! It doesn't matter how far along you are when you have pre-term labor every pregnancy, and a chance of your baby dying.
What a jerk! Why didn't he escort me to the hospital--or something?
Or there's the time a cop busted me BREASTFEEDING IN MY CAR while I was parked in a parking lot! (I need to write that story later.) I was covered and everything, talk about a crime. He said he thought someone had abandoned their teenager in a car--is that illegal?
Needless to say, when I see one of these behind me, I freak out!
The first cop who pulled me over last week was quite nice. I knew I was in the wrong. I'd been going twelve over in a residential area.
We shook hands before he left. I told him congratulations on his new baby and he told me congratulations on my upcoming book. I got a ticket AND a new friend.
I chalked it up to . . . my ticket of the decade. I had no idea, I would get a ticket less than a week later!
I'm writing this story in dedication to the second cop. "Why?" you ask.
"Because, you don't mess with a writer!"
Here's the deal:
It was 6 PM at the scene of the crime. I went eight over--that's what my speedometer said--when the cop's lights flashed behind me.
The infant-like cop edged closer to the vehicle, then peeked around so I barely saw his nose. "I read that you have your concealed weapon's permit. Do you have your weapon with you?"
"No," I said.
"Are you absolutely sure? No weapon . . . of any kind?"
"Other than four wailing children who needed dinner, no."
He sidled closer, knowing he'd made me mad. That man actually looked scared, and I decided I should pluck my eyebrows more often--they must give me that dubious, don't-touch-me look.
"We're offering a program," the officer said. "If you're only going nine over, it won't go on your insurance."
"That's great," I said, wondering if he'd worked as a vacuum salesman before he joined the force.
"Yeah. A lot of people seem to like that incentive."
Incentive for what? Speeding nine over? Where do they find these people? The circus?
"Ummm . . . Officer, I wasn't going that fast."
"Yes, you were. I clocked you with my eyes." He pulled his pants up like Erkel and I scoffed. "When you've been driving as long as I have, you learn how to clock people." He made a clicking noise with his tongue and pointed at the passing cars. "Thirty-two . . . twenty-nine."
What the Hell! Driving as long as he has? What was he, twenty-one? I've driven longer than that.
"Sir," I nearly choked on the reverend word. "I just got a ticket last week--it's my first ticket in a long time. And I was only going eight over this time. Can you please give me a warning?"
"I clocked you with-my-eyes going twelve over, but I'll only site you for nine."
"Ma'am, I'm nice that way."
I looked up and his left eye twitched from lying.
My fists bawled. I bit my lip to keep it from quivering.
He scampered back to his car with my license, registration and insurance. After a moment he came back and said, "It's only nine over, but you didn't sign your registration so I fined you for that too."
"Why are you doing this?" I asked.
"Because I like helping people."
I didn't mean his job--the idiot--I meant giving me a bogus ticket. I should have worn mascara and swallowed a breath mint!
"No, the ticket," I said. "Why are you giving me this ticket?" The baby screamed and threw her sock at me.
"Listen," he said. "I'm doing this for you, for your own good. It won't go on your insurance, but it's for the safety of your children, for other people's children. By the way, is everyone buckled safely? Maybe I should check their seats."
"THEY are fine!" I said. I don't know why it happened, but I cried then, these big sobs that made the van shake.
"I'm sorry, Ma'am. Oh, wow . . . it's tough being a cop."
Tough BEING A COP! How about getting a ticket while four kids are crying for dinner. I got beaned in the head more times while he made me wait for the ticket!
I grew angry. So angry, I could have gone to jail then; the choice presented itself. I thought what a nice break it would be from the chaos of my life. I thought of how I could just tell that jerk what I really thought of him.
I glared at him, squinted my eyes and realized: you don't screw with a writer.
I thought of getting out of that vehicle and saying, "You worry for mothers and children, yet I'm having to pay over $200.00 in tickets FOR NINE OVER and a stupid signature because YOU WORRY? How about what we'll eat for dinner, or the fact that you might have stolen our grocery money?
Aren't you just a gem! You, with your big-boy pants and a nose as lumpy as the moon. Thank you, Officer Harry. (Can you even grow facial hair yet?) Thank you so much for your . . . concern."
As I thought of all that, I remembered movies where women get tough in jail. They learn how to play Rummy; they know how to arm wrestle. Plus I'd get free food for a couple days. No one would wake me up all night with the stomach flu.
Then, I looked at my crying kids and knew nothing was worth it. No one could tear me from my darlings. I'd starve for them. I'd never play cards again. Hell, I already know how to arm wrestle.
I wiped my tears as the cop nodded awkwardly and walked away.
I know it's terrible, but I was mad, so I spit out the window just behind his feet. Then I drove off and decided that in my next book, the villain might be named Officer Harry.
I guess that's why . . . you don't mess with a writer.