Living the Good Life: Bluelight special
Robin, my friend in Idaho, recently pulled what she referred to as a “California slide” at a stop sign — meaning that she simply slowed down but then blazed right on through.
Her 14-year-old, Sean, who was in the back seat playing with the computer, immediately set it to make a police siren sound, “and at the same time, started flashing his red pen light in my rear view mirror,” she laughed. “I nearly had a heart attack!” Actually, it WAS pretty funny, but it’s made me stop to count the times that I have actually gotten caught by being careless at the wheel.
Missy and I were speeding along in my dad’s Renault in the summer of 1977, confident in the newfangled “fuzz buster” that he’d just installed, when we first experienced that red and blue lightening and heard the bone-chilling sound of a siren.
Luckily, that policeman was after someone else and passed us on the fly, but it took nearly an hour for my heart to stop racing.
Dad would’ve killed me if I’d gotten a ticket, or worse; he’d have taken away the keys.
After a fender-bender at Ohio University, I had to explain myself to an officer as other students walked by, teasing and giggling, and it was really embarrassing.
Personal police file No. 3 happened shortly after the move to Idaho, when I scraped the paint off the side of a recently-restored Oldsmobile while trying to parallel park a one-ton truck.
When running late for an appointment in Grangeville, I got caught going 34 miles mph in a 25 zone outside of Riggins — that time by the local sheriff as he was cruising in the opposite lane. (There was nothing to do but pull over and wait for him. He didn’t even have to flash his lights.)
In McCall, I was stopped one evening because both a tail light AND a head light were out.
And one stressful afternoon in Boise, I ended up going the wrong way on a one-way street. That time, I somewhat pleadingly explained to the man with the badge that I was totally lost.
Strangely, he believed that, and let me go.
But it was during the grand and glorious, early years in Colorado when I owned a 2002, eight-cylinder, 360 Mustang that I had the most memorable run-in with the law — that time while heading home to Olathe from hunting camp on Lizard Head Pass.
My kittens, Georgia and Jasmine, were just four months old at the time and after having played in the camper and surrounding forest for three days, they were sound asleep upon my lap.
Skimming along the tight turns at 7:30 in the morning, I was singing to the radio and oblivious to the odometer … when suddenly, from behind there appeared a state trooper.
“Driver’s license and registration, please,” he requested sternly after walking to the window.
Since the kittens were in comas — and I couldn’t reach the glove box without moving them — we experienced a minor delay.
“Hang on a minute, okay?” I asked, pointing towards them, and as the trooper waited (no doubt with some surprise) I unbuckled the seat belt, carefully hooked my hands under Georgia’s armpits, lifted her into the air, gave her a little nuzzle, twisted to reach the cat carrier that was in the back seat, slid her inside, and then repeated the same process with Jasmine.
Fetching the requested paperwork, I handed it over with a slightly embarrassed, “sorry about that,” and then noticed that he was smiling just a tad, one side of his mouth barely turned up at the corner.
Upon returning (after finding out that I was just a middle-aged hot-foot with no outstanding warrants to her name), he announced that I was being let me off with just a warning.
“So what’s the hurry?” he asked instead.
Gesturing towards the dirty jeans and flannel shirt, which were completely stained with grease and soot, I replied honestly, “We’re heading home from camping. I have to be at work at 9:30 and just need to get a shower.”
He nodded, but then added, “How about taking it a little easy from now on?”
Knowing that we just might meet again someday, and feeling a wee bit full of myself since there wasn’t going to be any ticket, in response I patted the dashboard of that wonderful dream car and then shrugged playfully, “Hey, it’s a MUSTANG! I can’t help it.”
“Try,” the trooper replied, but he nodded briefly with understanding.
And as I was pulling back out onto the road, Georgia came out of the open door of her kennel, hopped up on top, stretched, and serenely yawned out the rear window at him.
Somewhere at police headquarters, I’ll bet he’s still talking about us. ❖