"I am not a good American...I prefer to form my own opinions" - George Carlin
A couple of posts ago, I went through...as near as my brain will allow...all the cars I've owned. What occurred to me during this exercise was that if one is a red-blooded American male with an automobile, or veeeeeehickel, as they like to say down where I grew up, sooner or later one is likely to run afoul of the pooooolice in violation of some traffic law or other. I was no exception.
In that post, I mentioned a '56 Tudor Ford with the bashed driver's side door...the result of being T-boned in a strip mall by another testosterone type. Neither of us had insurance and as a result, my driver's license was suspended for six-months.
Did this stop me from driving...as it should have? No. I wasa baad boy!
I had a date across town on a Saturday night, leaving at Sundown to pick her up. Not the same young lady who endure a night of horror a few years before in my roach infested Buick. A different young lady. We had no history of bugs, but, we did have a shared experience of T-boning...of the car. She was with me that night.
Not far from my house, I crossed a major street and damned if the Sun wasn't in my eyes. Of course, the light was...RED...unbeknownst to me. But not unobserved by a motorcycle pooooliceman. He pulled up beside me and motioned for me to pull over. Oh crap, I'm thinking...a suspended license, and STILL no insurance. Maybe I can appeal to his patriotic sense...I was about to report for active duty in the army. Or, since this was next to a hospital, maybe I could tell him I was distraught and on my way to see my dying...whomever. I pulled over, with the barest of bones story.
He got off his veeeehicle and approached the driver's side. I couldn't see him very well, plus he had on a pair of those sunglasses...you know them...worn only by aviators and motorcycle policemen...and young smart asses...such as myself. Unfortunately, I didn't have on a pair...hence the blinded traffic light fuck up.
He got to my car, looked at me and immediately said, "sonofabitch...how come everybody I pull over today is an old high school buddy?"
"Oh Jesus and sweet Mary mother of God I will never smoke cigarettes, or drink the devil drinks, or masterbate again for this gift (I'll get back to you on the going to church thing). Thank you, thank you, thank you...it's Ray...Ray, MOTHERFUCKING RAY, from my Geometry class in high school. The guy who shot spitballs at old half blind Mr. Guntersen when his back was turned, in unison with me. YEEEEEES!"
I didn't even have to produce my expired driver's license...or non-existent insurance card. I was damned glad that my license plate was up to date, though.
We chatted a bit about old spitball times, and ol' Ray went on about his enforcement business. And I went on about my hot date business (don't get on my bachelor case...we eventually got married).
That was lucky break numero uno. There were more to come. Sort of.
A few years later after having bought a sweeeeeeeeeet MGB baby, with toggle switches, short stroked gear shift, leather seats, spoked wheels and a BONNET...that's what the Brits call the hood...a BONNET. How cool is that? Oh, it also had an authentic, original Brit license plate on the front. Just thinking about it gives me...well, maybe I shouldn't go there.
I would put the top down and hug the road. Hair in the wind, pretending that I was James Bond, flat out through the curves of the Swiss Alps. Never mind that Bond drove an Aston Martin DB5...which was not a convertible...but, this was pretty close in my world...and...they both have a bonnet.
The strange part was, I never saw Bond get a speeding ticket. I acquired several. WTF?
I was married by the time I bought the MGB. I went through 3 or 4 speeding tickets over a period of the first six months of ownership, and my wife was not particularly copacetic on the point. It was getting expensive, I admit. Try as I might, there was something about that damned car that just wouldn't be everyday-chug-along. In retrospect the problem was most likely between the seat and the steering wheel, not the car..you gotta love old guy wisdom hindsight, eh?
So one night I am out with a few friends...all guys. We stopped for a few minutes for A drink, and two hours later...well, you know the story. I left the "lounge" and headed home. Not really shit faced...just...happy. I may or may not have been exceeding the speed limit...probably not...but I will admit that I once again ran a red light. This time there was no Sun to blame...it was about 8 p.m.
Yep, I got the blue light.
This was a very old policeman that got out of the squad car. My grandfather look alike. He says to me, Mr. Smith (do you really think you are going to get my real name here on this left-wing blog...nah)...Mr. Jones, you ran a red light...you were speeding...and you have been drinking. By the law, I should take you downtown and book you. Should? He said, should! Jesus, mother Mary of whozey..and Salome...speak to me again. OK, church it is.
He said, "I am only going to charge you with two of these...speeding and running a red light." Whew.
And so I took the summons to appear, avoiding the Tank...the Tank of pissyness, puke and drunk fuckers. I'm told it is a smelly kind of place. I was very happy not to have to confirm that assessment...and I was very appreciative of this wise old policeman.
I did not tell my wife about this event.
A few days later, I went home after my wife, and she looked at me with THAT look. You know what I am talking about, dudes, guys, and bros...I know you do. She said to me..."you got another speeding ticket...didn't you?" Gulp and huh?
It seems the wise old policeman who didn't want me to go to the Tank, and I suspect, spend the rest of the night filling out his report about my sorry ass, had come by the house and left a note on the front door. It read..."Mr. Black, I entered the wrong court appearance date on your summons, it should read June 6, not June 4th. I just wanted to let you know...have a nice day."
Something about mice and men, methinks.