Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Massachusetts' Most Wanted

I always see police cars on my way home from work. Since small town cops are notoriously strict, I always make sure to go the speed limit, or under, on my route.

Today I saw a cop up ahead in an unmarked, though obvious, cruiser. I checked my speed. Right on the limit. I wear my seat belt religiously. I drove by, not even looking twice at him.

A minute later, I noticed lights in my rearview mirror. He was a couple of cars back, so I assumed he was pulling someone else over. Still, I did my legal duty and pulled to the side of the road. He pulled right behind me.

All I could think was SHIT. And STUPID STUPID STUPID. I knew exactly why he had pulled me over.

A week ago, I was at my grandmother's house and my aunt said to me, "Did you know your registration was expired?" I didn't. When I left that night, I noticed she was right. It expired in May.

I never got the obligatory Mass RMV notice in the mail. Although, I doubt I would have noticed since this was in the peak of Ethan's post-surgery dates.

The thing was, I distinctly remembered renewing a registration around this time, though. We were driving to Boston constantly, and I remember thinking I didn't want to get pulled over with a bad registration. But now, I'm sure that was for our other car. You know, the one that got totalled a few months ago? Yeah. That was a complete waste of 40 bucks.

From experience, I didn't want to admit I knew it was expired. Once, I got pulled over for having a headlight out. By admitting I knew it was burned out (and that I was on my way home from work to replace it) the cop increased my fine.

For a wholesome goody-goody, I have the worst luck with cops. I swear, if I was a skinny blonde girl, my life would be totally different.

The officer came over to the window and asked for my license and registration. I handed it to him willingly. He told me he was pulling me over because my registration was expired. He showed me on the slip. I feigned surprise as best I could. I told him honestly, I didn't know, I never got a reminder. He took my information back with him to the cruiser to call it in and see if I had already renewed and just lost the sticker.

By the amount of time he was in the car, I knew I was getting a ticket. Either that, or he had found some unknown warrant in my name. Finally he came back to the car. I expected him to hand me my ticket and be on his way. Oh, no.

"Your registration is expired ma'am. I'm going to have tow the car. I'm sorry, but I can't let you drive on a public way. We're just going to have to sit tight and wait for the tow truck."

I looked at him with my mouth visibly open. "Um. Ok." What could I say? Argue with a cop? I'm bitchy and sarcastic. But I'm not that stupid.

I called Jete and cried and swore like a sailor for about 5 minutes. Hopefully the cop didn't hear me on the scanner. Finally the tow truck got there. I started to explain I had to get the car seats out, they were the only ones I had. He told me I didn't have to get it towed to a yard, they could bring it right to my house - for $100, of course.

Well. Lucky me.

The cop handed me a slip. "I'm going to cut you a break ma'am. I'm just giving you a warning. You won't owe anything to the government. Of course, you have to pay to tow it, so it's kind of a wash."

Yeah. It was.

I thanked him anyway. "Thank you Mr. Officer for RUINING MY NIGHT." Or something less apt to get me arrested.

I rode home in the front of the tow truck. Jete and CG met me on the deck. CG loved the big tow truck. He pointed and smiled and watched the driver unhook the car. I had to laugh. At least one of us was got some pleasure out of the situation.

So here I am, with a printed receipt from the Mass RMV. I'm legal again. Cross my name off the most wanted list.

Of course, the sticker won't come in the mail for a few days. And with my luck, Mr. Officer will be looking for me again tomorrow.

Maybe it's time to vary my route a bit? No?

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