Folks, I’m having a little trouble here.
Not with writing, per se — I’m just as verbose and windbaggy and blathery as ever. And it’s not even coming up with a topic, really — there are dozens of half- and quarter-baked tales swimming around in my noggin.
No, the problem, after a year and a half of spewing forth drivel, is finding a topic that I haven’t already told you about. Lately, my posting prep routine has gone something like this:
‘Hey, today I should talk about the time I road-tripped to… no, wait, I already did that.‘
‘Oooh, but how about the time I went whitewater rafting, and… damn. Wrote that one already, too.‘
‘Ah, but I can talk about the ‘Dinner of Champions’; surely I haven’t — poopstain! What the hell’s left?!‘
And those are just from my 100
Things Posts About Me — just imagine all the other crap I’ve told you in the actual posts!
I’m starting to think that I’ve written about everything that’s ever happened to me. You know it all. Sure, I can still make shit up (see Exhibit A), or randomly form snarky opinions (that would be Exhibit B), or — in a pinch — get other people to give me topics (see Exhibits C, D, and E, for instance). But actually telling you something about myself has become rather a challenge.
(And believe me, people — you want me to tell you these things occasionally. Because if I don’t ‘bare my soul’ from time to time, I might end up baring something else. And nobody wants me to frighten the children. Agreed?)
Anyway, today I finally came up with one memory that I don’t remember sharing with you in the past. And just so this post doesn’t turn into a ‘clip show’ type of thing with all those links up there, I’ll tell you about it now.
Not to mention ‘I’ through about ‘ZZZ’, not listed in the interest of saving space. Meh.)
Anyway, here’s the thing — and I had to wade through the archives to convince myself I hadn’t posted it before, so if I have, and I missed it… well, that’s too damned bad. Maybe this time it’ll be better. That’s all I can tell you.
So, here’s the story of:
The Time Charlie Almost Got a Speeding Ticket, But Circumstances and Lazy Cops Conspired to Get Him Out of It
(Catchy title, no?)
First, I’d like to mention that I have never gotten a speeding ticket, or a moving violation of any kind. Parking tickets — oh, yeah.
(And up yours, City of Cambridge Meter Maid Coven. I got a quarter to stuff in your slot right here.)
But no speeding tickets. I’ve raced across the Mid-Atlantic states, to and fro, hitting eighty-five, maybe ninety on the radar guns, had they been turned on. Through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and surrounding states, whizzing along and trying to always be the second-speediest car on the road.
(You never want to be the absolute fastest, of course. That’s when they get you. Let the guy with the radar detector and the bling on his car fly by at a hundred and ten. Then swiiiiing over into his lane and punch it up to one-oh-five. That’s the plan.
Or would have been, if I’d owned a car back then that could go one hundred and change without disintegrating into scrap metal. Ninety’s about the limit for a ten-year-old Chevy Cavalier. According to my calculations at the time, anyway.)
At the time of our story, though, I didn’t have my own car. No, I had something better — a girlfriend with a car. I was a pie-eyed freshman in college, and she was the mysterious, sultry older woman.
(So yeah — a sophomore. Hey, it didn’t take much for me to get sultried up back then. Even a one-year difference is something when you’re eighteen, right?)
We went to this tiny podunk school in a tiny little podunk town in a state that really doesn’t bear mentioning right now.
(How’s that for vivid detail, eh, folks? Move over Steinbeck — there’s a new quill in town!)
The important bit to know is that to do… well, just about anything, really — see a movie, go out to dinner, fill buckets with fresh water, that sort of thing — we had to drive to a much larger city, about half an hour away. So we made the trip often — once a week, maybe more.
I should also mention at this point that neither I nor my girlfriend at the time were residents of the state where we were going to school. I lived in a neighboring state that really doesn’t bear mentioning, and she was from Georgia.
(Which probably doesn’t bear mentioning, either, but Georgia — along with Alabama, Arkansas, and more recently, Texas — is comedy gold. Just the mention of the state gives some peoiple a chuckle. And I’ll take all the cheap laughs I can get.)
So, it was on one of the trips back from ‘the city’ that our adventure occurred. On this particular occasion, I was driving her minivan; I forget why, exactly — she was tired, or had a headache, or had too much to drink, maybe.
(Or maybe, I hear you thinking, she was performing unspeakable acts on me while I was tooling down the highway. But no — I would remember that, believe me.
Besides, she wasn’t that kind of girl; I’m sure of that. Hell, maybe we’d have lasted longer if she were. I’m just saying.)
Anyway, I’m driving us back, and making good time out of the city. On the outskirts, most of the roads are four-lane, with traffic lights dotted every quarter-mile or so along the way. So the speed limit is high-ish, but not outrageous — let’s call it forty-five or fifty, say.
So, of course, I’m going about sixty. And on this particular night, the roads were pretty empty — it was late, and there was no ‘cover car’ to outspeed me. Can you smell the recipe for disaster cooking yet? Mmmmm… smells like chicken.
Near the edge of town, we approached a light. At a few hundred yards away, it turned yellow. I said I could make it, and sped up. I was wrong. So I ended up blowing through a very, very red light at about seventy miles an hour. Right in front of a cop, but you know that part already.
Natually, I thought I was cooked. EIghteen, driving someone else’s car, speeding, running a red light… and the car had to smell of alcohol. I don’t recall whether I’d had anything at all, but my girlfriend would have at least had beer or wine with dinner. And if I managed to get away with it, I would have, too. So my first priority when the cop came to the window was not to soil my pants, frankly.
He was all business, too. ‘License and registration, please. Do you know why I pulled you over?‘
‘Ummm… yes, sir. I’m sorry — I thought I could make that light.‘
‘Mmmm-hmmm. Stay here, sir. I’m going to run your license.‘
My parents were going to cube me and fry me and feed me to the dog. They wouldn’t let me have the car I drove in high school; I knew they didn’t want me driving someone else’s. And with two tickets — at least — coming out of this, I’d be hoofing my ass around campus until graduation. I could just feel my sphincter squeezing.
(I asked my girlfriend for one of those ‘unspeakable acts’, while we were waiting. You know, just to loosen up a little. She refused.
You know, come to think of it, she really was a pretty crappy girlfriend. Meh.)
After an interminable wait, the cop came back to the window, handed me the license, and said:
‘All right, son. Get out of here. But no speeding, got it?‘
He let me off the hook — I couldn’t believe it. All the fear, the anxiety, the worrying — all for nothing. I crawled back to campus at a ridiculous forty miles an hour, and kissed the ground when we arrived.
(It tasted like sneakers and stale beer, for anyone who’s wondering.
What — nobody? Bah. See, this is why I don’t go into vivid detail; you people just don’t appreciate them.)
Later that night, I wondered why in hell the guy would just let me off like that. The cops around there weren’t known for their sense of compassion, or their sense of humor. When I saw the sirens, I wondered whether I’d end up being fingerprinted sometime that night, frankly.
However, the cops around there were renowned for being lazy. And that was the only thing working in my favor. I’m thinking the cop got back to his cruiser and put the situation together:
‘An out-of-state car, not registered to the driver, who’s also got an out-of-state license, from a different state? Think of the paperwork — eh, screw this. I’ll scare the kid, and let ’em go. I’ve got donuts to get to.‘
So, I dodged a bullet. And — from other things I heard about those cops — maybe literally. And to this day, I’ve never come so close to getting a speeding ticket. But I never drove that girl’s car again. And I never did get my ‘unspeakable act’, dammit. So it’s not completely a happy ending, but at least I didn’t spend the night in jail. I guess that’s something.Permalink | 4 Comments