I used to be a sort of daredevil driver. My family called me Melissa Andretti because..well, you can figure it out based on that last name. I liked to drive fast. Hey, I was young and in a hurry. Always in a hurry.
I would drive with windows open, unless it was frigid out. I liked the hair whipping around, sticking to my pink lip gloss, I guess. I always had the music blasting at ear drum bursting decibels. I’m sure, if you know me, you can guess whose music I was listening to. Duran Duran. The Cure. Depeche Mode. Oh..and Guns n Roses. I loved me some Axl Rose. He appealed to my wild side. Don’t ask, I have no idea.
I tamed a bit when I became a mom. I always wore my seatbelt because I didn’t want to leave my children motherless. I drove the speed limit but I was pretty excited when that limit was raised to 70 mph on the highway. I stopped at yellow lights, usually. I drove 25 mph in subdivisions and school zones. I became a road-law abiding citizen.
In my lifetime, I’ve been pulled over a few times. Okay, more than a few times. There was this one time, during lunch when I was working at an advertising agency. The cop laughed and told me he pulled me over so he could check out the two blondes in the car. Then he let us go and get our lunch, mighty nice of him. We were both getting hangry.
Then there was the time I got pulled over for accelerating too quickly at a light that changed to green. In the dead of winter. On a busy and slippery road. The officer showed me the new computer stuff he got in his patrol car, showed me a little bit about how it worked and I was let off with a warning.
Then..there was the time when I was around 19. It was really late and I had just left work, we had been doing inventory, back when I worked at Harmony House. For those who aren’t familiar with Harmony House, it was a record store chain that was awesome. Anywho..my friend Muffy and I were drag racing down Orchard Lake Road, we were going to Village Place to get a late night snack. She was going faster than I was but I was the one who got pulled over. I was reprimanded by a concerned cop but let go to meet my friend for food.
I’ve been lucky, I guess.
I’ve been pulled over a ton of times, for a plethora of reasons.
I’ve only gotten two tickets, despite how many times I’ve gotten pulled over.
One was driving 5 miles over the speed limit, I was trying to get my son to preschool, he was crying because he had to go to the bathroom and was scared he was going to go in his pant. So, I was doing what any mom would do, racing to a bathroom for her kid. Only, I was in a school speed zone. Oops. Pulled over, crying kid who had to poop and a pretty big ticket because, not only did I get pulled over but I couldn’t find my registration or insurance. Of course, I found them later that afternoon but whatev. I had to pay like $400. Sigh.
The other was a ticket for something to do with the fact that my original drivers license looked as though it had been tampered with. It hadn’t been. It was just always carelessly tossed into pockets of pants which inevitably ended up in the washer and dryer.
Which brings me haltingly and screechingly to today.
Like I mentioned, I’ve become I pretty conscientious driver in my old age. I pass through two school speed zones on my way to take my son to school, every single morning except weekends and holidays. Even though people behind me get annoyed, I slow down to the 25 mph. I figure I’m doing these wanna-be law breakers a favor and what happens? I get flipped off, honked at and tailgated.
Side note, some people are complete jerks.
So today. I’m observing the speed limit. Okay, maybe one or two miles over. But, the road I take is heavily patrolled by cops because of said jerks who like to speed through school zones and risk the lives of our children because they couldn’t wake up a few minutes earlier to be able to get to work on time.
My son and I are chatting about laws. He thinks some of them are unfair but I was explaining that laws are put into effect to keep order amongst citizens. Not that it always works but hey…it’s pretty safe, on the most part.
I got to school. We were a little late, but that happens sometimes.
I pull into the car pool lane.
All of a sudden, I notice a car speeding up behind me. And then..the red and blue lights start swirling.
I look at the woman who helps the kids get out of the car safely and I’m like, “Is that for me?”
She was like, “Yep, looks like it.”
I’m stunned, “What did I do?” I wailed.
She laughs, “Must’ve been something!” (p.s, I don’t remember exactly verbatim so I’m taking liberties here)
The cop walks up to my driver side window. And another one walks to my passenger window. My heart is racing because I’m surrounded and have not once iota of an idea what I had done.
I looked at the cop on my side..who happened to be young and cute. Like..really cute. I silently cursed myself for not putting on makeup. Or a bra. At least I had a baggy sweatshirt on over my pajamas. Oh yeah, I was still wearing my pajamas. Sigh.
“What did I do???” I wailed again.
“Ma’am, you blew a red.” He answered sweetly.
I was, once again, shocked. “Wait, what? I did? No way! I’ve never done that before. Ever. In my entire life.”
He nodded, he’s probably heard that song and dance before in his 3 days on the force. I mentioned he was young, right? “License, insurance and registration, please.”
I grabbed my stuff from my purse and glove compartment and handed them over to the patiently waiting strapping young police kid. He’s really young. Like, couldn’t be more than 12 or 13. It’s hard to tell ages these days.
He removes all the papers from my hand, says thank you and he and his partner..or guy who is training him..I dunno..and they go back to their car.
Meanwhile, late stragglers are pulling up behind the police car to drop off their kids. Then, of course, they have to pull around the police car to get out of the school lot. So, of course, each car that passes by has to dead stop by my car, look inside to see the guilty party before driving off feeling good about themselves that they weren’t the ones who got busted for speeding or texting while driving. Yeah, you know who you are, we’ve all seen you do it.
I’m joking back and forth with the woman who gets the kids safely out of the car while the cops are still inspecting my life story based on the magnetic strip on the back of my license. Thankfully, as you know from earlier on in the story, I have a REALLY GOOD driving record. Something I’m quite proud of since I now can’t say I have no cavities or have no need for glasses. Sigh. Everybody needs a bragging right. Mine are getting fewer and farther, my friends. Fewer. And farther.
FINALLY, after like 3 nerve-wracking minutes, the baby cop (is it me or does he keep getting younger in this story?) comes back to my car, hands me my stuff I had just given him and coos..er..smiles. “We’re going to just let you off with a warning. This time.” As if he was assuming he’d be pulling me over again soon.
I wanted to pinch his cheeks. Or hug him. Instead, I think I squealed, “OMG!! THANK YOU SO MUCH. YOU’RE AWESOME!”
He nodded, “Have a good day, ma’am.” And back to his car he went.
Deciding to wait for them to leave before I went on my slow and merry way, I chatted a bit more with the lady who gets the kids safely out of the cars. We shared stories of being pulled over. And then I cautiously proceeded out of the school lot, onto the main road and home.
Without a ticket.
With a warning.
And one little bragging right when all my other bragging rights have been taken down by age.
What’s the moral of the story? Um..pay attention to the roads, I guess.
Thankfully, no one was hurt during the real life making of this story. And, I’m not positive it was a red light, I’m thinking it was a stale yellow but that’s neither here no there.
Maybe, in my advancing age, I’m having a hard time differentiating between yellow, red and green?
Anyway..that’s my story. Results may be different for others. Use caution when operating a motorized vehicle.