Driving Award

About sixty miles outside of Cleveland, Studley and i were singing “Moon Over Parma”*. i was cruising along at a good clip as we made our way to western New York State for a ski weekend with friends.

Cresting a ridge, i saw movement in the lane ahead of me. A man in my lane. Wearing a hat. Motioning me to pull over.

Shit. Johnny Law.

Slowing,  clipping the turn signal, and making a controlled stop on the left shoulder, i flipped on the hazard lights and put the car in park.  Snagged the registration from behind the passenger sun visor**, and quickly dug my driver’s license and insurance card from my wallet.

Zipped down the window, and held all documents in my left hand. Both hands visible on the steering wheel as the state trooper approached my car.

This is how you do a traffic stop.  i have rather extensive experience with this…

John Law: Good Morning. Ma’am, I had you going 81 in a 65 mile per hour zone.

daisyfae: Yeah. Sorry. i was singing…

He went back to write the ticket***, and i swore a little. “Damn. Should have seen him. It’s been a few years since i got a ticket… Probably because i haven’t had a car that doesn’t shake apart at high-speed.”

Had the ticket in hand within about five minutes, and continued on our way.  Cranky, a bit less cash in the wallet, but none the worse for wear.  This triggered a few recollections regarding prior traffic incidents.

Hauling The Girl and three of her pre-teen friends in the back of a station wagon, i was pulled over for speeding.  Since the girls were approaching driving age, i used the ‘teachable moment’ to instruct them in proper technique for traffic stops.  Emphasis on keeping your hands on the wheel, with the car window open, as the officer approaches the car “because you got a guy with a gun jacked up on adrenaline – you don’t want to make him any jumpier than he already is”.

As i pulled the car back onto the road after the stop, Lindsay said “Man, you didn’t even get nervous!  My mom gets tickets all the time and she cries her head off!”

Another lesson:  making excuses is pretty pointless.  Either you’re guilty or you’re not.  Either he’s going to give you the ticket or he won’t.  Trying to explain is pretty lame…

Back in the 90’s, i’d gotten a second speeding ticket within a month of the first – requiring an appearance in traffic court.  Giving myself some time to get oriented, i showed up early to watch the operations and get a feel for the process.

The referee, a tired-looking man, sat at the dias.  The clerk would call out a name, and the violator would stand before the referee.  He would barely look up from the paperwork in front of him and say “You are charged with [Violation X].  How do you plead?”

Without exception, the violator said “No Contest”, or “Guilty, but…”.  The referee would then ask in a deadpan voice “Do you have anything to tell the court?”

“I was rushin’ to pick up my grandbabies so my daughter could get to work on time…”, “This dude had passed me really close, and I was chasing him down to get his license plate number” and on and on and on…

The referee would then declare guilt, levy a fine and move to the next stack of paperwork.

My turn.

Referee:  You are charged with doing 51 in a 40 mile per hour zone.  How do you plead?

daisyfae:  Guilty as hell, Sir.

referee [looking up from stacks of paperwork]:  Do you have anything to tell the court?

daisyfae:  No, Sir.

Referee:  Fined $45.  Suspend court costs.  Next case.

* The opening song from “The Drew Carey Show”. Not as cool as “Cleveland Rocks” used in the first few seasons, but a good car song nonetheless…

** Don’t keep your registration in the glove box.  If the officer sees you digging there, it’s pretty easy for him to request a search of your vehicle if he sees anything he can call “suspicious”.

*** i’m pretty laid back about this.  Heart rate barely goes up when i see the lights.  But i am smart enough to NOT say “Can you write the ticket quick, buddy?  i’m in a hurry…”

54 thoughts on “Driving Award

  1. *Touching Wood* I once drove my bike through a one man speed trap and was pulled over. As the Cop pulled out his pad, a car went past at double+ the speed limit. Cop shook his finger at me, jumped on his bike and took off. I passed them two miles down the road. I was very careful about my speed!

  2. Traffic stops are a bit different up here in the Great White North. I’ve found that being a bit chatty pays off. Oh, I still wind up with a ticket, but the “damage” is usually reduced a bit. (Unlike with those damned cameras!)

    The last time I was pulled over in the U.S. of A., it went something like this:

    A little south of Pocatello, ID I had an encounter with Trooper Davis of the Idaho State Police. I guess I shouldn’t have passed him on the right. I readily admitted to “pushing it a little bit” – he noticed that my speedometer outer ring is km/h – told me that the speed limit is 75 mph “what is that?”, he says, “about 120 km/h?” I agreed. He told me not to speed and let me off with a warning. Yes! The polite, dumb Canuck thing paid off!

    • i have gotten out of tickets – always have better luck with locals than the state cops. once, i was so mad at getting pulled over early into an 8 hour drive that i let loose with some angry tears. as the officer approached my zippy sports car, i just looked at him and said “My husband is goin to kill me!” through the tears. Got a warning, and felt pretty bad…

      Second time? local boy. Same sports car. Back when i was thinner and cute. He asked me if i knew how fast i was going, and with my mini-skirt hiked up halfway across my lap, i said “Sorry, Officer! Sometimes she just gets away from me!” i could almost hear him ripping a boner. warning that time, too…

  3. i am so going to remember this post, sugar. i’m not going to jinx it by saying anything else. *don’t ask/won’t tell* let’s just say, it involved a BMW… xoxoxoxox

  4. A New Zealand friend hired a car in Los Angeles and the clerk said:”First trip here, Sir? OK…remember to drive on the opposite side of the road and if you’re stopped by the CHiPs, keep yer hands on the wheel and yer ass on the seat!” And as my friend signed the papers: “Those guys carry a pump gun under the dash and it’s not fer show.”

    • i absolutely do not mess with southern california cops. if i were to ever get pulled over there? i might get out of the car and throw myself prone on the pavement, hands behind my head, just to be safe!

  5. Oh gosh! You make traffic stops funny. Wanna know how I get out of tickets? I say, “I no speak english!” Haha…nah, that’s what my dad did when I was young. I never had the courage to use that line…I’m chicken. I did, however, run a red light while trying to pull over for speeding and got off! I told him it was his lights in my rear view mirror that distracted me and caused me to run the light….which was true…I swear. No ticket, just a warning to slow down. 🙂

    • i have long considered speeding tickets an automotive expense – right up there with tires, oil changes and gasoline. helps to keep you calm if you know you’re going to get caught… i would expect the officer knew you were a responsible driver! glad you weren’t hurt, either!

  6. A “Driving Award”? Cool! That’ll go well with your semi-annual “Drunk and Disorderly Award” (i hear they’re going to retire that award and rename it in your honor)… [chuckle] {ducks thrown shoe}.

    now, if you had a doughnut, you might have gotten out of this…

    • so long as i never mix the ‘drunk’ and ‘driving’, i’ll be in better shape… forgot the donut. had bacon in the car, but that might have been too close to home for him…

  7. It all seems so very civilised (or in your case, “civilized”). In this part of the world, when you see lights behind you, you’re either about to be hijacked by fake cops or shaken down by real ones. Fortunately, if you drive an old shitmobile like mine, you seldom get bothered.

    • seems my ‘shitmobile’ strategy would have to carry over into driving in SA. the ‘fake cop’ thing would make me want to carry my own weapons… shitty trick…

      • it would be a better world if police didn’t need heavy arms… here? citizens are legally ALLOWED to carry concealed weapons. now, if you’re pulled over and packing a gun, you are also required to inform the officer immediately that you have one, and tell him where it is.

      • the rules for carrying guns are strange in these parts. you can have a gun on the front seat of your car, but if it’s even partially covered up by a newspaper, or a jacket? you’re in big trouble. unless you have a concealed carry permit, in which case, you just have to declare it to the police officer. no wonder the rest of the world thinks we’re nuts…

  8. I once stole a policeman’s hat in London. It was New Years. I was wearing a see through top. He smiled at me indulgently and let me take a photo. Best copper ever.

  9. Hey, baby, I grew up right next to Parma! Beautiful country, isn’t it? Best Drew Carey opening ever was “5 o’Clock World” by the Vogues.

    The last time I was ticketed I was quizzed. “Do you know how fast you were going?” I thought it was a trick question.

    • Agree that the “5′ O’clock world” opening was the best… i still want to organize a flash mob to do the dance one of these days. preferably on the steps of a court house somewhere…

      It is generally not a good plan to make smart-assed remarks to the cops. Glad you resisted the urge….

  10. OMG…Right before my divorce, I was driving the new truck, traffic started moving from the light, I was reaching for the sunglasses and didn’t see the traffic abruptly stop. Swerved but still rear ended some poor teen with his friend in the car….blah blah blah..got ticket..went to court. Said I was a day late and had warrant out for my arrest. Showed the ticket the cop gave me (he screwed up the date and the day of the week) Last one left in court since I was supposedly late. Lady judge asked me what happened. I told her the truth..I screwed up, I hit him and that I called the kids parents right after to tell them it was my fault and not to blame their poor teenager and his friend. Very nervous since I was afraid I’d be in trouble for being a day late, according to their books. Lady Judge started laughing at me and told me how great I am for my honesty. Turns out friend in car was HER KID…She thought it was great that I didn’t try to take advantage of a young teen driver and try to blame it on him. The story I told and the one the boys told was pretty much dead on. Small fine for reckless driving, no court costs, warrant wiped out and some praise and sympathy when the judge found out I was stressed since I had just filed for divorce. (no tears from me just chit chat with her since I was the last one and she asked how everything else was going since I seemed very stressed.)
    I use this true story on my kids when ever they get in trouble. I always tell them to tell the truth even if you did something wrong. Punishment will happen but not as severely as it could if you lie.

    • That’s a GREAT story! And makes me wonder just how small of a town that was if it’s the judges kid you clobbered at a stoplight! Was it the only stoplight in town? 🙂

      • No way…Cleveland Ohio..suburbs..very very coincidental that I ended up with her..It made it all the funnier considering all the different courts and judges I could have ended up with.

  11. Where in WNY did you go?
    I LIVE HERE! =) lol
    I SKI HERE! =)

    About 20 years ago, my then fiancee had just graduated from the Police Academy and was working as a local cop in a small town.
    He also happened to be a volunteer Fire Chief in his small town and had lights & sirens on his old police car.
    After a night of partying with my best girlfriends, I was traveling through his small town on my way home when all of a sudden I saw lights come on behind me.
    I started laughing and just kept driving. My fiancee wasn’t working that night so I though he was just messing with me.
    Boy was I wrong.
    The cop wasn’t laughing as I was trying to explain that my refusal to pull over was in no way my attempt to evade the law, but in fact I thought he was my fiancee playing a trick on me.
    Yeah …….

    • Holiday Valley, Ellicottville…. Gorgeous place, seemed very well-kept/managed to me!

      Another good tale – but damn, you were lucky you didn’t get locked up for that one! Ouch!

      • 15′-50″ base, depending on where on the hill we were… they did a good job with the machine-made snow, but suspect it would have been better with lake effect. we’re doing it again next year — probably not Prez Day Wknd, though. i’ll let you know when we’ll be in range!

  12. I got stopped for speeding once. The policeman informed me I was doing 60mph in a 40mph zone. I told him I thought I was doing more …. about 78mph. He let me off. I reckon he must have been gay and fancied me.

  13. I don’t have any funny cop stories, not really. I got a warning once, and a ticket back in 1983 or 4 (I can’t remember now…. I didn’t know that about the registration. Mine is in the glove compartment…

    • i just have issues with the ‘seizure’ laws in my state… so i don’t like to make it easy, even though the most dubious item in my car is probably a 5-year old bit of licorice under the seat… seems you are a good, law-abiding citizen and safe driver. nothing wrong with that!

    • Wow! i was close by – although for a brief period of time, as i did the rest of the drive at a cop-safe 74 mph! the key chain was a gift for my service to the local community theater troupe for a fundraising drive. i figured it fit somehow in the category of “awards”….

  14. I’ll do UB one better, i was born in Parma Hospital and lived there until i was 17, then i split and only stayed sporadically but hell you read the lounge i don’t need to explain, pink flamingos in the yard and white socks on the feet.

  15. LOL,
    Moon over Parma? I thought that it was Moon over Shaker Heights. You should also warn your fledgling drivers in training about the futility of offering parts of their body for the absence of a ticket. The Geezer has had two female friends that were so inclined. One was charged with prostitution, The other was rebuffed by a gay cop.

    • Shaker Heights is the upscale side… Well, Lakeside, i think is even upscaler. I wouldn’t know for sure… Agree that making suggestions of favors is always a bad plan. And have i mentioned lately how happy i am to have a talking dog in my comment threads? i’ve had a few visits from Geiger, the literati kitty, too.

    • he was cute, but not Hollywood-Hot-boy-Cute. when i told him we were headed out skiing, he asked which resort, and we ended up chatting about skiing for a bit. i’d do him…

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