Blue flashing lights in one’s rear view mirror is rarely a welcomed sight. Either it is a signal for you to get out of the way or blunt indicator for you to pull the heck over. Often times, the sudden appearance of sirens and lights cause my unsuspecting feet to crazily clog over the pedals in a schizophrenic dance of uncertainty, trying to decide if I should stay or should I go, a thought similarly expressed by The Clash.
(If I go there will be trouble, And if I stay it will be double...)
For the record, I am very careful and very safe when behind the wheel and a somewhat manic passenger when not. The older I get the more worrisome the very fast interstate becomes. Those who have had the unpleasant riding experience of my presence to their immediate right understand my potential to demonstrate unfortunate backseat-driving behavior. My husband just wishes I would ride in the backseat.
Yesterday morning I impulsively decided to head to Atlanta for the day. I was supposed to be at work, but figured the joy of shopping would be worth any cross remarks made on my quarterly review. (Not to mention that my boss relies on me for supper and clean underwear, so I wasn’t too concerned about the possible repercussions.)
With my hands responsibly in the ten and two position on the steering wheel, I cruised along in the slow lane at a safe speed, mindful of all traffic laws and in full respect of law enforcement officers. (That was for you, Badge #97, and all of your quick and spiteful judgment.)
After an uneventful trip - minus the interaction with the burly truck driver who felt it necessary to wag his scary and grotesque looking tongue in my direction – I spotted my exit ahead and prepared to take the exit in a manner that can only be described as a state of upmost awareness peppered with extreme caution.
As I slowed, I suddenly noticed a police car, blue lights flashing and sirens screaming, traveling in the left-hand emergency lane in a BACKWARDS direction off of the exit ramp I needed to take. He was gunning it (pun intended) in reverse, and by my estimations, was going to crash into my car about the time I arrived onto the exit ramp.
What happened next occurred in a matter of seconds. As I veered to the left out of the exit lane to avoid a crash with Smoky, the police car came to a screeching halt, allowing my vehicle the room needed to safely exit towards all the glorious retail. With cat-like reflexes, I swung my car back to the right into the exit lane, passing the directionally challenged police officer in the process.
And then more blue lights, more sirens, with the added delight of a honking horn, directly behind my Expedition’s bumper.
For an erroneous moment, I thought that Smoky wanted to apologize for the distractions caused by his driving, commending me for the level headedness with which I responded when presented with a precarious situation on the interstate. Maybe this would serve as a good lesson and gentle reminder for him when there are circumstances that involve a gearshift placed in the wrong position.
With a forgiving heart and an abundance of grace to offer, I rolled down my window as Badge #97 approached my car.
“Ma’am, would you like to tell me what you were doing back there?”
I didn’t want to be disrespectful by pointing out that I was trying to avoid an IMMINENT CAR CRASH with the law, especially when exercising all manner of driving precautions as evidenced by my hands still in the ten and two position.
“Ummm, well, ..I was trying to exit....” I stammered, trying to remember if accusing a law enforcement officer of sub-standard driving warranted arrest. Plus, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings before he offered his apologies. That would be rude.
“I need you to give me your driver’s license now.”
“Well, okay,” was my very brave response, thinking that he just wanted to use my name when saying that he was sorry.
Smoky took my license and headed back to his vehicle. I slowly began to comprehend that somehow this did not mean good news for me. I am very perceptive like that.
After several minutes he returned, citation in hand, to explain the many ways in which I had broken the law with my indecisive and erratic driving. (His words.)
My brain, and flashbacks of the perverted truck driver, reminded me that I still had a tongue.
“Seriously?” I asked incredulously. “You were driving backwards on the very fast moving interstate with flashing lights and sirens and I was trying to avoid a collision with you. Where’s the emergency?! Clearly, my indecisive and erratic driving is keeping you from it.”
Long, scary sounding pause.
“MA’AM, THAT IS NO EXCUSE FOR THE UNSAFE WAY YOU WERE DRIVING!” the man barked, using his capital letters voice to let me know that those carrying badges and loaded guns are not tolerant of sassy mouthed housewives.
Unsafe? UNSAFE?! Did he not realize my hands were in the ten and two position?
“I have listed your violation as crossing the gore of converging lanes,” he continued, handing me the yellow ticket that meant I had a lot of ‘splainin’ to do to with my spouse.
“Your court date is set for September 23rd. Here is an additional copy in Spanish in case you didn’t understand your ERRATIC and UNSAFE driving in plain English,” Badge 97 concluded with a smirk, igniting a number of sinful responses in my head that I wisely managed to keep in said head.
Crossing a gore? What’s a gore? That’s how I’m going to go down, tarnishing the clean record that for years has demonstrated all manner of safe and cautious driving?
Later that night, I recounted to my husband the events that led up to my mishap with the gore. He was very understanding, and with a wink, suggested that I may want to spend a few extra hours at the office next week to appropriately pay for my driving waywardness.
I replied that he could absolutely depend on my help in the office, but depending on supper and clean underwear most likely would be a different story.
He can blame the gore advocate- Badge 97- for that minor inconvenience.