“Do you know why I pulled you over?”
The first thing that went my through head was, “Did I accidentally run someone over?”.
See, I have this thing about authority. It must be respected at (pretty much) all costs. Must be the Asian part of me. That’s why I drive so conservatively.
I drive so conservatively, a very good friend of mine asked me if I really know how to drive. I banned my own brother from my car because I couldn’t take his screaming at me. Here’s a hint. If someone is a conservative driver, yelling at them doesn’t make them drive better, it just rattles them and causes them to do stupidly dangerous things.
Anyway, here I am with a 40-year-oldish cop staring in my window, all decked out in his uniform designed to intimidate the hell out of old ladies. I sit there with these thoughts going through my mind because I doubt if I was speeding, although if they catch you at the instant you speed absentmindedly you’re screwed. So I take a guess and say “…. speeding?”
“You were going 50 mph in a 35 mph zone.” The cop had stopped me right by my place of employment, and now work buddies were passing and waving at me, probably singing ditties in their heads. “She got a ticket, She got a ticket, and I didn’t.”
I might have accepted the ensuing speeding ticket; but when I drove around looking for the speed limit signs I found they were overgrown with bushes — thank God because, well, I was clueless they were even there and I’d been working there for several years. I came back the next day with a camera so I could catch the conditions at the time of the ticket. I researched the Driver’s Handbook and formulated my defense. A highway unmarked defaults to 50 mph.
The court room was full of people contesting their tickets. I heard the person at the front of the line whine “Puuuulllleeeeeeaaassseeee forgive this ticket. I just moved here and didn’t know my way around and I don’t have any money.”
Two men sat at a desk, one with a pen, tapping it on a ledger as they listened to the arguments.
“Denied. Next!” Said the man with the pen dismissively to the defendent as he looked to the next person in line.
The second person in line said “I was going the same speed as everyone else….”
“Denied! Next.” The pen flamboyantly marked off a check in the ledger.
It was my turn. I pulled out the series of photographs approaching the obliterated speed limit signs and laid them out neatly in front of them. I argued my case, opening my Driver’s Manual to show them the appropriate sections.
The man, pen hovering over the ledger, raised his brow looking at me blankly. He slowly lowered his eyes to absorb my show-and-tell and then looked back up at me.
“I’ll let you off the hook this time, but not because I believe you,” he said. “You’re not going to do it again, are you?”
“Oh, never never never… Never!,” I added that last “Never” as a reinforcing afterthought. “Thank you!” I went from being my own defense attorney to gushy, blabbering lady, tripping over her words.
“Now get out of here before I change my mind.”
“Yes sir.” I turned and walked as fast as I could before he could find a reason to call me back.
The next time I heard the words “Do you know why I pulled you over?” I looked up at the officer and said, “Uh…. was I speeding?”
“No you ran a red light. I’ll let you go this time, but watch the lights.”
I thanked him, but wondered where he must have been looking when he thought I ran a red light because I hadn’t. How do you fight that in court?
What question do you hate to be asked? Why?
Plead the Fifth