Thursday, February 2, 2012

Major "Whew!"

As I was taking the entrance ramp onto the freeway this morning, I noticed a state trooper in the lane to my left. I usually think the posted 45 MPH speed limits on these ramps are mere suggestions and I tend to drive a little faster than that. Okay, a lot faster. Of course, if it is snowing or raining I actually pay attention to the posted speed limit because I’m not a big fan of skidding off the road.

At any rate, the trooper was going slightly faster than I was, so I figured I was safe. The SUV in front of him, however, was not. Suddenly, the trooper hit his lights and siren and my first thought was that he was going to veer around the SUV and head off to parts unknown to assist in an accident somewhere up ahead. But, no. He was pulling over the SUV.

Eeek! This has always been a paranoid fear of mine and I hate seeing police cars directly behind me. Even if I’m obeying all the traffic laws, there is always that possibility that my left taillight has magically burned out at that precise moment or the body that inexplicably has been stashed in the trunk will come back to life and wave at the trooper.

I know it’s unreasonable. I mean, there are far too many bags and boxes in the trunk of my car so there is no way a body could fit in there, too. Nefarious miscreants wanting to stash a body in an anonymous trunk would move on to another, more accessible, vehicle. Like the Mini Cooper down the street. Or even one of those little clown cars.

But what can I say? I always feel like I’m breaking the law and am being closely scrutinized for infractions that I can’t possibly know I’m committing whenever I’m directly in front of a cop car.

Probably it’s because I’ve only been pulled over by the police a couple times in my life. The first time was when I slid through a red light in a car that was not good on snow or ice. I could barely stop the vehicle when the officer pulled up behind me lights flashing, and I was probably going 5MPH or less.

Fortunately, he let the infraction slide (ha) and only gave me a warning. I’m sure it was not the only time I ran a red light in that car – I spent many a winter slip-sliding away in it until I bought a new car that handles snow and ice a tiny bit better. But it was the only time I was pulled over by an officer of the law. Well, for that particular infraction anyway.

For the most part, it’s difficult to speed on the freeway heading to work because the road is so clogged with commuters. We’re usually driving at a snail’s pace, so we rarely see police cruisers aiming their radar or laser guns at oncoming cars.

Nevertheless, I have to admit that my imagination went into overdrive when the trooper pulled over the SUV this morning. I mean, the guy wasn’t excessively speeding. He hadn’t even had a chance to enter the freeway. So, what? Was he a wanted man? Did he have multiple outstanding arrest warrants? Could he have been a known drug runner and it was his sorry misfortune to be driving directly in front of an eagle-eyed state trooper?

I am sure I’ll never know the answer to those questions or find out the real reason the SUV was pulled over.

But mostly? Mostly I was happy it wasn’t me – and my morning wasn’t ruined by being on the receiving end of a ticket.

That’s a big 10-4, good buddy. And it’s also a major “Whew!”

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