I have never gotten “out” of a traffic ticket on my own, even when I was cute, thin, tan, flirting and sobbing. Years ago, my 4-year-old son Jon got me off with a warning by charming the policeman with distracting comments like, “I have a Looney Tunes t-shirt” and “I like your hat.”
Recently, an ordinary day began with manic alarm and a wild rush to deliver two kids to two different quadrants of the city, unexpectedly. I sloshed down a cup of coffee and raced. On the way home, I saw a police car coming toward me and I slowed...way...down. As he passed me, I looked in my rear-view mirror and realized he was turning around. In one, strange, maniacal, irrational and fiendish moment, I tried to ditch him by quickly turning onto the next street. So THIS is what it feels like to be a criminal, I thought, panting.
Unfortunately, it was a dead-end street.
Officer Stout came up to my window and asked me what I thought I had done wrong. A cross between “Novocain-lip” gibberish and an Elvish curse came out instead of “I think I was speeding” and sounded something like:
Officer Stout said, unflapped, “You did not come to a complete stop back there.” He asked for my driver’s license and when I reached into the glove box, stating “Whiney pissomer istakey, see?” (which meant, “My ‘09 sticker didn’t stick to my license plate, so here it is.”), Officer Stout took a step back and put his hand on his weapon. I handed him my documents, smiled and he soberly went back and sat in his car.
I looked in my rearview mirror again and jumped. The reason he took a step back was not my barrage of “fool” words or my “glove box reach” for a potential weapon. What really freaked him was my appearance. I was wearing one of Fred’s holey undershirts and baggy pajama pants. I had brushed nothing. I had a boulder sized eye-booger in one watery eye and my eyebrows, unkempt, arched at the ends like Sir Graves Ghastly. As I looked down, damp coffee stains on my white shirt made it semi-see-thru.
When Office Stout came back to the car, I was rolling the crud out of my eye and smoothing down my eyebrow hairs with a licked finger.
“Can I ask you why you turned down this street?”
Oh God. I started to speak again when Officer Stout held his hand up in the stop position, “Have a nice day and come to a complete stop next time.”
Moral: One way to get out of a traffic ticket is to look as gross as possible.