Monday, December 24, 2007

Drove my Chevy to the Levy

inspired by Val

It's funny how all of your feminist ideals get thrown right out the window when staring into the eyes of a great big policeman.

Especially when you're 16. Especially when you have just gotten your license a few weeks prior.

There I was, newly licensed, in my brother's "kelly green" '69 Camaro. I had four other girls in the car with me. For those of you who know Los Angeles, you will recognize the exact off-ramp of the 405 Freeway I'm about to describe. The exit is Mulholland. As you pull off the freeway, there are a couple of can go left from the left and right from the right lane...makes sense, right?

Sitting in the left lane with my four friends all screaming different things at me..."go left, no, go right, no left, no right"...I finally had to choose. Unfortunately, the last thing I heard was "GO RIGHT!"...and so, I did.

OOOPS! I was in the LEFT turn lane.

And there it was. The thing we fear most. The thing a brand new 16 year old driver fears most. Those lights, the siren. I knew I was "dead".

I pulled over, in my brother's kelly green Camaro. The Camaro that, in this year of 1971, had a huge peace sign in the back window. Not to mention the crap all over the car...a rolling trash can as it were.

The nice, rather large policeman came over to my car, motioning to roll down the window. I began to roll it down, and then it happened.

I burst into tears. Uncontrollably. I couldn’t stop.

The great big policeman asked me a few questions. I answered through my tears. My girlfriends were as still as statues. And then the miracle happened.

He asked me to promise I would never do it again. Hell yeah officer

Of course it was more like “y-y-y-es officer”.

“O.K.” he so generously said. “Then go, and don’t ever do anything like this again”.

And you know what? I never did. Until I was 34, and pregnant with my youngest. I was nabbed doing 40 in a 30 zone. And hormonal. And figured, hey those tears worked oh so many years ago, why not now, right?

So, bring on the tears! Only, this guy? Wasn’t buyin’.

Crap…out came the ticket book…I was doomed to “comedy” traffic school. (which, by the way…NOT funny)

I have never sped down that street again.

Somehow, the picture of a flashing 52 year old with tears streaming down her face, just isn't quite the same as a cute, perky, scared out of her wits 16 year old.

Maybe I'll soon be able to play the "poor old senior" card.

Hey, you do what you can.


cruisin-mom said...

Ezer K'negdo says: The first time I was ever stopped, EVER, was the day I moved from NYC to our current location. I was 32. My 2 small boys were in the back (4 and not quite 2), and they thought the policeman was the coolest thing they had ever seen. My oldest asked to see his hat. The cop laughed, and let him wear the hat while he wrote out my ticket. Nice of him. I still have the picture of my son in his car seat wearing the hat smiling.

PsychoToddler said...

I really LOVE the picture of that car. I-ma have to go and buy one

in my video game

FrequentFlyer said...

I have gotten a few tickets. If you drive in a big city, it's part of their revenue system. My friend calls it "a tax at gunpoint".

The one I remember to this day was on Temescal Canyon road up from the parking lot at Will Rogers beach. I'd made a (very safe) U-turn to grab an open parking space and the cop was right on me. He looked about the same age you were in your brother's Camaro. He was about 6'1", weighed no more than 150 lbs, and was WEARING BRACES! I swear. I was waiting for him to say "trick or treat".

I handed over my license & reg and sat fuming while he wrote me up. He came back, asked me to sign the slip and could tell by my clenched jaw and clipped conversation how utterly furious I was. He didn't exactly smile but his expression softened a bit. He looked right at me and said, "Hey, it's all right to be angry. You just got a ticket."

For the first time in my life I actually didn't feel brutalized by the whole process. I could see he still had a shred of genuine empathy. After a beat, we both smiled and waved goodbye.

They should put this guy in charge of training his more mace-happy colleagues.

cruisin-mom said...

E.K.: that is a funny least the cop didn't make you feel guilty...when I was pulled over and pregnant...boy, did he make me feel horrible (hey, not exactly like I was Nichole Ritchie driving the wrong way)

P.T.: I won't tell you that MR. Cruisin had one when he was 18 too. That is a whole other blog post.

F.F.: That's a great story. I know Temescal Canyon very well!