Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yes Sir

We had a lovely weekend visiting the area antique shops and craft fairs. The weather was in our favor and it was a glorious afternoon. Jerry had dropped his truck off at the dealership early Saturday, because he needed some work done on the engine. On our way home I dropped Jerry at the dealership and our plan was to meet at home immediately. Normally, I would stop here or there, but I was tired from the full day and anxious to get back. I chose a different route than Jerry took, because that is how we are. Just different. As I was tooling along and enjoying the scenery on Maple Avenue, I noticed one of Johnstown's finest tucked into the landscape about halfway up this two mile stretch of road. I didn't adjust anything cause I didn't think I was doing anything wrong, but as I passed by him I just peeked into my rearview mirror. When I saw him pull onto the roadway with full lights and tweets I knew it was for me. "Damn". I immediately pulled over on the nearest stretch of safe shoulder, and sat in my seat as I have been told is the best course of action under these circumstances. As the officer approached my vehicle I reached into my pocketbook and took out my wallet. "Can I see your license and registration please?" I was able to put my hands on my registration immediately because Jerry has placed it in a clearly marked envelope inside my console (thank you again Jerry). My license took a little more effort because I couldn't get it out of the window of my wallet (why do they make them this way? they KNOW we're all going to have to produce our license at some point in the wallet's life. MAKE THE WINDOW LARGER). The officer made a joke about that particular problem, I guess he sees it alot. Anyway, I produced the license finally and he asked me, nicely, if I knew why I had been stopped, and truthfully, I hadn't a clue. I was driving pretty slowly and had my seatbelt on, as I always do. Was a brake light out? That was the only thing I could think of. "No sir" I said, in totally clueless honesty. "Do you know what the speed limit is here?" he said. "No sir" I said, because well, No Sir. "I had you doing 42 in a 35 mile zone" he said. In total honesty I replied "truthfully I'm surprised I wasn't going faster because I usually pass through here at a pretty nice clip". Those were my exact words. When I told this to Jerry (after arriving home later than him and explaining my delay) he was pretty horrified. But the truth is having worked with alot of police officers, I was viewing this conversation as almost a social visit on the side of the road. I was completely comfortable with the officer, he seemed like a pretty nice guy, and I wasn't completely clear that I had done anything terrible. 7 miles over the limit? Okay. I concede. I actually considered myself pretty lucky because on a normal day, I wouldn't have been doing 42, I would have been doing 52, or more. It's a unpopulated road that is a shortcut between Main Street and Meco. The Plandome Road of Johnstown. A little winding, a little twisty, but pretty much safe at a 55 mph clip. I lucked out. With this in mind my conversation was a bit chipper and optimistic. After asking me about the stickers on my window (Port Washington PD, Nassau County Chief's association, etc.) I told him it was from Long Island, never mentioning my previous employment situation, again Jerry was horrified). He walked back to his car (still holding my license and registration)and my assumption was that I was going to get a ticket. When he came back to the car, he gave me back my stuff and said "I'm going to make this a warning. I have noted this stop in the computer, and you need to slow down OK?" "Yes sir" I said, thrilled at this windfall. I have never gotten a ticket, although I have on occasion had other similar social visits. I have been lucky. Usually for speeding (not alot, but definitely over the limit-I think the limits should be re-defined with reality in mind). I always stop at Stop Signs and never make really illegal moves intentionally. I have made some really stupid moves (i.e. the early morning social stop after driving down a closed road while bringing the boys to their boatyard job-that was bad). But I have always gotten just a warning, and have never mentioned my affiliation, former or otherwise. It just feels not right. So I tell the truth and hope for the best. So far, so good. But I'm staying off Maple Avenue for awhile. Just in case.

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