There's nothing more frightening, or humbling, than being stopped by the police...or two. It happened to me the other day. I was traveling behind a state trooper, on I-4 heading to Deltona. I stayed behind him for a spell. Not really paying attention that when he slowed down, I'd slow down, when he picked up speed, I picked up speed. Which then put me over the speed limit.
Eventually he pulled into the center lane and let me pass him. Then came up behind me with his lights flashing. I pulled over, wondering what I'd done, and dug out my driver's license before he even got out of his cruiser.
"Do you know what the speed limit is here?" he asked.
I thought for a moment. "Either 55 or 65?"
"Fifty-five," he said. "Any reason you were speeding?"
I shook my head. "No." I usually set my cruise control to keep my speed down but I hadn't that day.
"Some people think when they stay behind a cop that they can speed and get away with it," he went on to explain.
I know my eyes got big. "I wasn't doing that. I just wasn't paying attention." Smart comment, I thought with disgust. Then he went on to explain that not paying attention could also cause an accident. Well, duh! I wondered if I could possibly dig myself into a deeper hole. "I know that, I'm sorry."
He asked for my insurance and registration. I'd already given him my license. I looked in all the usual places, sure I had it somewhere in my purse. He waited a moment, then said if I found it while he was back at his cruiser just wave it out the window and he would come get it.
I dumped my damn purse out, but it wasn't anywhere! I then dumped out the glove box, the middle console and the ashtray. Nowhere! I got out of the car and went around to the trunk. The owner's manual was there and I went through that. Nope, not there either. I began to toss things around in the trunk, and almost fell in while trying to reach for things at the front. The cop probably got a good laugh. I finally gave up, got back into the driver's seat and sat there with frustration. The only two insurance cards I did find were expired.
He came back. "I'm sorry, I can't find them."
He said. "This is either going to be your best day, or your worse day."
I just looked at him and almost said, just take me to jail now. I felt like such a criminal. And he was being really patient and understanding. It's not like he was all pumped up and throwing his power around or anything. I told him about my new grand baby. He congratulated me. He also wished me a belated birthday.
"I can give you a total of seven tickets today."
What?! I'm thinking, OMG...don't take me to jail, just shoot me! That's when I glanced in my review mirror and saw another cruiser had pulled up, lights flashing. Can you imagine what flashed through my mind? Hand cuffs, being frisked, thrown in the back of the cruiser, strip searched back at the station stuff. I began to shake, and made a half hearted attempt to find the registration and insurance card again. I looked up after a while, and remained quiet.
He didn't. "Speeding, no registration or insurance card, expired license tag (my birthday was the day before), wrong address on my driver's license, obstructed view of my license tag (hubby had bought me a pretty license tag frame and we didn't know you're supposed to remove the plastic that covers the tag), blah...blah...blah...." At some point I couldn't listen to him anymore.
"I'm sorry." It seemed lame at that point, thinking back at his comment that this would either be my best day or my worst day.
The end result? The nice policeman gave me a warning! I do have 30 days to mail in proof of my registration and insurance, update my tag and driver's license, and that is all. I was so relieved. I'm thinking my safe driver's license might have helped a little. And he said with the up-coming holidays he didn't want to put a strain on my finances. Wasn't that nice of him?
After both troopers left I had to sit there for several moments. Ever try to pull back into traffic on the interstate?