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Mason is supposed to take his driver’s test next week. He’s spent the past month practicing parallel parking between garbage cans in front of our house. He’s taken classes, he studied the booklet a dozen or more times, and he has more than enough driving hours in. He is READY!
He and I were heading to Atlanta this week. I was driving. It was going to be a very short, 48-hour trip. We hadn’t even gotten out of Trenton, Georgia yet when it happened. An 18-wheeler was in front of me, but in the right lane. I was in the fast lane. We were cruising down I-59. I wasn’t really paying attention. I should have been. I honestly had NO idea how fast I was going.
Once the 18-wheeler reached a certain point, I noticed a police cruiser on the side of the road. It was WAY too late for me to brake but, always assuming I’m in the wrong, I did anyway. I passed him. So did the car behind me. He pulled into the slow lane, and started speeding up.
I said to Mason, “Well, honey, you’re about to learn from Mommy what to do if you get pulled over. My heart thumped a bit. I was looking more in my rear-view mirror than I was the front. When I did re-check my speed, it was down to 62. So, I couldn’t have been speeding, right? Turns out I was suffering from Post-Busted Feather Foot.
The car behind me changed lanes and the officer came up behind me. The lights came on. I told Mason, “Yep, here we go. Pay attention. And, don’t be afraid.”
I pulled WAY off the side because it was the freeway. Half the Jeep was in the grass. I didn’t want the officer standing right next to freeway traffic. I put it into park. I rolled down my window. Mason’s eyeballs were the size of saucers. I said, “Don’t worry. I’m not going to jail, honey. Just watch and listen. This is a very important life lesson.”
The cop walked to Mason’s side of the Jeep instead. I rolled down his window (the knobby thing is in the middle of the Jeep). As the officer stepped next to Mason, I thought the poor kid was going to pee his pants. I had both my hands on top of the steering wheel. You’ll read why later.
Me: “I am soooooo sorry, Officer!!!”
Officer: I’m Officer (removed) from the Trenton Police Department. Do you know how fast you were going, Ma’am?”
Officer: 85 in a 70.
Me: 85?!?! Oh my God! I am sooooo sorry!!!
Officer: Do you have your driver’s license on you, Ma’am?
Me: I do. It’s in my purse. There is a firearm in my purse. I have a carry and conceal permit. Do you want me to pick up my purse? It’s in front of my seat by my foot. Or, do you want to get it?
Officer (smiling): You can pick it up and get your license. Just don’t pull out the gun.
Me (smiling back): I won’t!
I handed him my license. He looked at it for a minute. (Maybe checking out my awesome picture, wondering how someone can have aged this much in just two years?) He then asked for proof of insurance.
I got Mason involved.
Me: Mason, get the insurance paper out of the glove compartment. Make sure it’s the current one.
Mason got to work on his chore, probably happy he wasn’t needing to take pics of Mom in handcuffs to post on WritersWeekly later.
Me: This is our son, Mason. He’s taking his driving test next week. He’s learning a great life lesson on what to do if you get pulled over.
The officer shook his head, and smiled as Mason handed him the proof of insurance. He checked the date, and gave it back to Mason. He then went to his patrol car.
Me to Mason: “Okay, now he’s checking my license, seeing if I have any warrants, seeing if I have any recent warnings or tickets, and the like. I haven’t been pulled over in more than 30 years. I’m clean. I swear. Did you notice how polite and apologetic I was?
Mason: Yeah, you really laid it on thick, Mom. Think he’s gonna fall for it?
Me: Very funny. I was being completely sincere.
Mason (rolling eyes): How much you think this is going to cost you?
Me: A LOT.
Then, we waited. I think it was 15 or more minutes. I wasn’t nervous. I figured he was punishing me for breaking the law by making me late to wherever I needed to be.
The flashing lights were blinding in the rear view mirror. Mason was trying to covertly take a picture of the flashing lights behind us to send to Brian to tattle on me (Brian is an ex-cop). I was trying tally up the fine amount in my mind, and wondering if I’d be able to take Defensive Driving to have the ticket dismissed.
Finally, the officer approached again. He came to the driver’s window that time. He held out my license and said, “Promise me you’ll slow down in the future, ma’am.”
My eyeballs got as big as Mason’s had been when this all began. I took my license from him, and hung my head out the window, saying, “YOU’RE NOT GIVING ME A TICKET?!”
Officer: No ma’am.
Me: Or a warning?!
Officer: No ma’am.
Me: You are the sweetest, kindest man on EARTH!!!!
He smiled really big, and told us to have a nice day.
Mason: Congratulations, Mom. It worked.
Me (putting the Jeep in drive): Mason, he let me off because I was extremely apologetic and polite, and because I was teaching my son how to be respectful and polite toward officers when we get pulled over. I screwed up. I was honest. I admitted it. And, I was showing you how to do the right thing. Now, can you pull out the owner’s manual? I have had this jeep for 2 1/2 years and I need to learn how to use the cruise control.
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