You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you drive past a police car that you didn’t see at first? It’s that initial panic that surges through your body and you begin asking yourself– Was I speeding? – He didn’t see me holding my phone, right? – The light was “green-yellow”, I swear. Then you watch the car from your rear view mirror and hope to God that it doesn’t pull out of it’s stopped position and start speeding up towards you.
In all of my experiences, most of the time it doesn’t, even though it probably should. I would guesstimate that 80% of the time that I’m behind the wheel, I’m committing some type of traffic violation. Not intentionally, of course; I’m not a driving scoundrel. I’d like to think that I was genetically predisposed to being a terrible driver for the following 3 reasons: 1) I’m a woman, 2) I’m asian, and 3) I’m short and I’m pretty sure I don’t have the expanded peripheral vision needed to see around my vehicle. All the short, asian feminists around the world started screaming bloody murder for reasons that they can’t explain.
Now, I’m sure there are some excellent short, asian female drivers out there. Okay, maybe just some excellent short, female drivers (the asians will hunt me down for sure now), but I am definitely not one of them. At any given moment while I’m driving I am most likely doing one or a combination of the following things: eating, drinking (not alcohol, of course– I’m not an idiot), singing, trying to find a song on my iPod to sing to, trying to find a song on the radio to sing to, dancing to the song I just found while singing, reading an email, writing an email, talking on the phone, texting, sexting (haha, I just wanted to throw that in to see if anyone was reading), google mapping, yelping, putting on my makeup, putting on an article of clothing, and painting my nails (yes, I really have done that while driving).
This leads me to the story at hand. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that every story I tell always has some long drawn out introduction that is usually (in my mind) crucial detail to the present story, but in reality, it’s just unnecessary overload and I like to hear myself talk. Talk about run on!
So… I had just finished a quick stop at the mall and was on my way to grab some lunch. I’m stopped at an intersection where all the lanes except for the right hand lane had been blocked for construction. The light turns green and the cars ahead of me start making their respective turns. As I approach the intersection I glance up and see a “Right Lane Must Turn Right” sign and think, naturally there’s an exception because of the construction– besides, all the cars ahead of me turned left too. As I’m turning left and crossing the intersection, I see an LA County Sheriff’s vehicle stopped at the opposing traffic’s light. No big deal, though. The light was green, I think to myself.
Next thing I know, the Sheriff has sped out of his red light and is now speeding up towards my car. CRAP! What did I do? I wasn’t on the phone. Could he see my iPod in my lap? Left is okay– everyone else did it! My heart is pounding and I could feel my sweat glands anxiously filling up with perspiration.
Act normal. Look straight ahead. Both hands at 1 o’clock and 3 o’clock.
Next thing I know, he’s switched lanes from behind me to next to me and is slowing down. Act normal. Eyes on the road.
Sheriff: “Hey! Did you go to Biola?”
I turn my head slowly to look out my open window. Sure enough, cruising at the same speed as me in his LA County Sheriff patrol car is a uniformed officer. Young guy, late 20s/early 30s, buzzed head and Asian. Great. He’s racially profiling me because he knows that the women from his kind suck at operating a vehicle.
Me: “Uh, yeah.”
Sheriff: “What year did you graduate?”
Me: “2005.” Was this a test? Is he really just trying to take my attention off the road and then he’ll jump in with a “GOTCHA… careless driving… TICKET!!”
Sheriff: “Cool. What’d you study?”
Me: “Business Administration and Marketing.”
Sheriff: “Cool cool. I used to work in La Mirada and I always wanted to go to Biola.”
Now… let me jump in here and just say that I’m not the quickest person. At this point in our conversation, I am still convinced that he is sincerely interested in hearing more about my alma mater.
Me: “Oh. Yeah it’s awesome. I had an awesome college experience.”
At this point in the conversation I have now begun glancing frantically between the officer, the intersection lights we’ve now driven to and through, and the line of cars backing up behind us in the two lanes. For the next 3 blocks he continues to ask me random questions and every time I try to drive off (but then who drives off during a conversation with a sheriff- isn’t that felony or something?) he just drives up next to me again with another question of interest.
Then the light bulb in my head goes on…
Sheriff: “So, uh, where are you headed right now?”
Flicker… the coils spark…
Sheriff: “Would you want to hang out sometime?”
Really? This whole time… for 3 blocks. The small talk about the college inscribed on my license plate frame. All for a date. I have to give the guy some credit. He’s got some chutzpah. Unfortunately for him, I’m totally unavailable. Unless of course he was Mark Wahlberg, Jude Law, or Ryan Gosling– then that ring would have been out the window in an instant (just kidding, Matt… I kid.).
To make a long story end… I was stopped by a sheriff who drove next to me for 3 blocks, backing up traffic, just so he could ask me out. I stopped at a cafe earlier that day and they were out of my favorite vanilla rum canneles that day. This kinda made up for it.