The cop saw me before I saw him.
He had a radar detector. I had astigmatism.
Hypnotized by the swirl of his ruby-red lights, I pulled over to the side.
He got out of his car, parked across the street, and swaggered toward me.
My chance to make a getaway.
Instead, I idled in confusion. Surely, I had slowed down before the radar had detected me.
Under the circumstances, surely you did not. And don’t call me Shirley.
“License and registration.”
Two good friends of mine. Or, so I thought.
My license picked a terrible time not to cooperate. When I tried to force it from the plastic holder, it wedged itself inside it.
“C’mon. C’mon,” I muttered. “Move!”
The cop took two steps back.
“I’m sorry. I’m just so stressed today.”
Finally, my mug slid from the slit. License nirvana. As I held it in my hand, God, or one of my internal voices, spoke to me.
“Tomorrow, take the parallel road with the 45-mph speed limit.”
After my divine revelation, it was time to find the registration. I opened the glove compartment and wrestled with the envelope that was stuck between the driver’s manual and a hard place.
Are you ready to rumble?
I tackled the envelope during the third round and handed it Mr. Cop.
“I don’t need the envelope. I just need the registration.”
My fumbling fingers finally gripped the registration. I handed both IDs to Mr. Cop.
“I’m so sorry, Officer. I’m so stressed today. My son got a “D” on a statistics test. We don’t know if he’s going to pass the class. We don’t even know if he’s going to the class. Blah, blah, blah.”
He steps back two more paces.
“You were going forty-five in a thirty-mile zone.”
“You’re absolutely right. I did a bad thing.” Indistinct muttering. “I’m just so stressed this morning. I don’t know where my head is today.”
I looked in the backseat. My head wasn’t there.
“I can’t hear you. Can you speak louder.”
“I’m so sorry. I’m not myself today.”
Who are you then – Gladys or Felicia?
I don’t know. I was Gladys yesterday. And Felicia’s at the hairdresser.
Mr. Cop hands the papers back to me. They help lunatics like me stay in the country. The illegal immigrants are the sane ones.
“I’m going to give you a warning this time.”
“Oh, God, thank you so much. I promise I’ll never speed again.”
Fingers crossed behind my back.
“Okay then.” He turns and runs for the safety of his car.
With hands shaking, I revved the engine and sped away . . . at a 25-mph clip.
I checked the mirror. Mr. Cop’s car was still parked and dark.
His hands are probably shaking, too.
Have you gotten any tickets lately?