Monday, November 16, 2009

A Conversation With a Highway Patrol Officer

Before I get down to it, I need to give you some background. I grew up going on road trips all over the country with my family, which for most people would turn them off ever driving anywhere ever again. Not me, I love driving. Mix that in with my sport which is all about going fast, the fact that I’ve seen way too many episodes of Top Gear, and that I like driving fast on (unpaved) twisty roads, it should be no surprise that I want to be reincarnated as a rally driver.

While driving from Tucson, AZ to the central coast of California, I came across many things, like border patrol check points, Hollywood traffic and an RV that caught fire in a gas station. All of these things cost me precious time on the 700 mile journey north. In an attempt to make UP time, I was driving a bit over the speed limit, and on highway 154 it finally caught up with me. I’ll admit it, I was bombing down this road, alone, having a great time driving, when I came around a turn and who pulls out right behind me? California Highway Patrol. Womp, womp. This was my first time being pulled over, but I’d seen the movies so I knew what to do. Out run him! No, I kid. I pulled over right away and he promptly blinded me with his flood light through the rearview mirror. He tapped on the passenger side window, I rolled it down, and our conversation went something like this:

Officer- “Good evening! How you doin’ tonight?”

Me- “I was doing alright... how ‘bout yourself?” This isn’t what I’d expected him to say.

Officer- “Good, good. You were going a little fast, you know that? 75 in a 55. Where you headed?” I honestly didn’t realize it was a 55, I thought it was still 65.

Me- “Yeah, I know, I’m sorry. I’m on my way to a cycling training camp in San Luis Obispo.” I’m sure I looked like a hot mess seeing as I’d raced in the morning, not showered and had sat in the car for the previous 9 hours leading up to this moment. And the car was crammed full of bikes and affiliated equipment.

Officer- “Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun! Can I see your license and registration?” I hand him my license and the first card I grab out of the glove box, which is packed full of extra napkins I’d grabbed to check the oil level in my car. They pretty much explode out of the glove box. “Ok, this is your insurance card, which expires tomorrow by the way, do you have your registration?”

Damn it. I rifle through the glove box again, and the billion napkins that are now all over the passenger side of the car. No registration.

“No sir, I’m afraid I don’t have it.”

“Ok” As he writes down my license number, and gives it back to me “Well you take it easy out there, I don’t want you gettin’ hurt.”

“Yes sir.” I say after him because he’s already half way back to his car.

I waited a moment unsure weather he was coming back with a ticket, or if I could leave. I thought I was free to go, but he hadn’t said “I’m letting you off with a warming” like I’d expected him to say after not giving out a ticket. When he started backing up to pull out, I figured it was more than safe to leave- which I did at a much slower speed, and obeyed all posted speed limits and road signs.

*A week later my mother got an envelope from the Arizona Department of Transportation with a photo of me in the car, and a speeding ticket to go along with it. Damn photo enforced speed limit thing got me.

No comments:

Post a Comment