“License, registration and proof of insurance please.” I took my time pulling out my wallet and feigned a search for my license, I wasn’t in any hurry to get a ticket. I finally passed him my license while my wife searched through the glove compartment for the registration and insurance card. The glove was jam packed. She found the registration but was having trouble locating the insurance card. While the officer waited I made a couple of other remarks defending my actions. He finally took an expired insurance card from my wife and told her to continue looking for the current one.
As he turned to leave I asked him to wait a moment. When he leaned down and looked across at me I asked sarcastically, “Do you mean to tell me you’re actually going to write me up for 81 mph?” He looked me in the eye and said, “yes sir, I am,” and turned to walk back to the cruiser. As he turned, my son said,” Man that sucks.” The officer leaned back down to the window, looked sternly at my son and said,”Excuse me?” My son explained that he meant that it sucked for me. The officer looked at him for a moment then turned and walked to his car.
I sat there stewing, watching the cars speed by. I was not happy. My wife was frantically trying to find the insurance card and telling me how rude I was being to the policeman, and she wasn’t alone. My son and daughter in law couldn’t believe how I was talking to him. At that point I really hadn’t seen it, but as I sat there thinking about it I realized that they were right. I was being an ass. In my frustration I had developed an attitude and it was definitely showing.
I have to tell you I have been pulled over more times than I care to admit, most of them when I was much younger, and I was never, I repeat never, rude to a police officer. Even when I thought I was wrongly ticketed, I always remained polite and cooperative. I made it a point to teach my children to do the same. Now here I was behaving like a jerk.Unreal!
By the time the officer returned I had pretty much resigned myself to my fate and just wanted to sign the damn ticket and get back on the road. I could hear my wife talking to him about her failure to find the insurance card. A comment was made about how cluttered the glove box was and I chimed in, “if you think that’s bad you should see our house.” Yep, I was still being an ass. Just then I was distracted by a passing car and I watched as it passed two cars on the right and sped off. When I returned my attention to the officer he too had seen the cars. “I’m going to cite you for not having proof of insurance,” and of course in my anger all I heard was “I’m going to cite you-” and my anger escalated. I responded with, “Sure, why not, just add it on officer, cite away! Cite on!”
Everyone turned and looked at me in disbelieve even the officer. My wife asked me in a shocked voice,”My God, John, aren’t you listening to what he’s saying?!”My son joined in, “Yeah dad, aren’t you listening?” I confess, I wasn’t, but I certainly was then. He repeated what he had said. He said he wasn’t going to cite me for speeding and was citing me instead for not having current proof of insurance. He went on to explain that it was basically a fix it ticket with a small processing fee. I could show proof of insurance to a police agency, get the ticket signed off and complete the rest by mail.
To say that I was shocked would be an understatement! I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I so regretted the way I had acted. I signed the ticket and apologized, I felt like an ass. I guess when you act like an ass you should feel like one too. Before leaving the officer talked to me about taking it easy and having a safe drive home, and he again reminded me that just because everyone’s speeding and passing on the right, I don’t have to follow suit. I thanked him and we we were on our way.
No one in the car could believe that he hadn’t cited me. They all said that if they had been the officer, they would have cited me for sure. Hell, I would have cited me! I don’t know why he chose not to ticket me for speeding. I jokingly said that I probably reminded him of his grouchy old father. Whatever the reason, I’m extremely grateful. The officer remained cool, calm and collected. The angrier I became the calmer he seemed to get. It was incredible. I have to wonder what would have happened If I had succeeded in pushing his buttons and pissed him off. It could have been ugly. Not only could he have cited me for speeding he could have hauled me in!
I truly believe everything happens for a reason. My son said it was a wake up call and perhaps it was. Maybe I needed a wake up call to slow it down and be more careful, not just behind the wheel but in my daily life, and he was simply the messenger. Perhaps it was karma, I try to do the right thing and assist when I can, I’m always willing to give people a break, especially my students, maybe it just came back to me. All I know is I have a whole new respect for the CHP.
The rest of the drive home was enjoyable. After I was able to pull my foot out of my mouth,I set the cruise at 75 and didn’t play the speed game once the rest of the way home. I probably got home about ten minutes later by driving slower, but I got home safely and I suppose that the whole point…