Friday, April 20, 2012
If on the highway you saw a lady biker in boots, black pants, jacket, gloves, and helmet, riding when it’s too cold for most bikers, you’d think she was tough. But if you were to roll your windows down, and hear that she’s singing “Everybody wants to be a Cat” from the Aristocats at the top of her voice - then what would you think? You’d have just seen me on the highway. However, if you came into where I work, having no idea what you’re looking for, and expecting me to know what it is, I’m a little different. I recently had just such a customer who was making me nuts, and I was doing everything I could think of to help her out, to no avail. I was really getting irritated at the time she was wasting when she said, “You’re so sweet!”. I just smiled at her, but was thinking, “No, I’m not. I think you suck. I’m being paid to be nice to you.” Is that how prostitutes feel? Days like that, when I’m extra cranky, I do google image searches for kittens. Or kittens cuddling. Or kittens playing. I wonder what my boss thinks when my most frequent searches are for kittens. Kittens just make my heart happy, rather like rumbling motorcycles do, but better. I try to take my bike to work as much as possible, even though it sounds more like a lawnmower than a motorcycle, because that open air just helps my mood. If I’m running too late in the morning, though, I can’t take the time to put gear on. I’m not a morning person, and have a difficult time getting out of bed and awake in the morning. I used to have problems falling asleep in the shower and being late, but I’ve got a morning routine that minimizes that. I usually start the morning off right by hitting the procrastinate button. Then I have until the alarm goes off again to check email, check the weather, and, you know, snooze. Until I got scared about amoebic brain infections, I used a neti pot each morning, too - you know, voluntarily pouring salt water up my nose, first on one side, and then the other. The stinging is pretty good for getting the blood flowing. Then, I used to just brush my teeth, but I’ve found that using mouthwash is key to staying awake. I don’t use just any mouthwash, but the most potent and stinging mouthwash I could find. The sheer awfulness of swishing for 60 seconds usually keeps me awake through the shower. After that, I’m set to hop on the bike and sing all the way to work. “because a cat’s the only cat who knows where it’s at!”
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The other night I got pulled over. I was on my way home from work. I saw the officer at a cross street and immediately checked my speed. Since I was coming from a light, I was actually going 5 under. He pulled out behind me onto a main street, and since I knew he was there, I kept an eye on my speed as I went down a hill I normally take pretty fast. He was still behind me when I got to a red light where I make a right, so I was careful to come to a full and complete stop before turning right. I turned into the near lane and signaled over to the left lane. I was in sight of my house when the blue lights came on. “Really?”, I thought. I was doing everything like they teach in drivers’ ed, but nobody does once they have a license. My seatbelt was even on, so I was wracking my brain to come up with what the problem was. My tags were current. Both my headlights were working. Could it be a brake light? I got my paperwork together, and handed it over to the officer when he asked. He asked where I was coming from, so I was all sweet and innocent sounding when I explained, and even made sure to call him ‘sir’. After taking my paperwork, he said, “I pulled you over because your tag light is out”. I must have looked surprised or puzzled (but not quite polite enough) because he followed up with, “The light that illuminates your license plate? It’s a $260 ticket”. “Oh my goodness! I had no idea it was out!” I exclaimed as sweetly as possible, with my eyes really wide. “I’ll be right back”, he replied and walked back to his car. I started to go for my phone to send a text when a second officer started talking from the passenger side. I startled because I hadn’t even realized he was there. He said, “We don’t mean to be jerks pulling people over for a little thing, but this is a safety issue. Your license plate needs to be visible.” I managed to hide my skepticism. Safety issue, really? I thought. A brake light or a turn signal out is a safety issue. The tag light being out only means that if I’m running around committing real crimes in my car at night, witnesses would have a harder time writing down my plate number. However, it increases my chances of being pulled over afterward, so that wouldn’t be smart. If I wanted to commit crimes in my car, I’d be better off taping something over the plate so I could remove it later and drive around in perfect compliance. Also, did I ever mention that I drove my car with expired out-of-state plates for a year and a half and was never pulled over? Or that now that my car is fully legal, I only drive it once a week because I have my bike? I knew I shouldn’t tell the officer any of that, so I did some quick thinking. Since he was trying to be nice, I thought I’d let him. “I’m so sorry, sir – I had no idea that it was out! Is it a light I can just pick up at Lowes?” I asked. He recommended a place and I played dumb and sweet and asked where it was. Then I asked how to get there. I finished with, “Thank you very much for your help!”, and he went back to his car. A few minutes later, the first officer came back. He re-iterated that he could give me a $260 ticket, but said he would give me a written warning instead. I drove off (and didn’t even have to move out of the center lane, so close was I to my turn), and thought and stewed. They played nice, I played nice, they got closer to their quota, and I learned that where I live, they can give a $260 ticket for not having your license plate properly illuminated. Have you ever had any strange run-ins with your local law enforcement group? Share in the comments!