So as the officer is walking back to my car empty handed I am thinking two things:
1. If he asks you to step out of the car, whatever you do DON’T CRY; and
2. It’s 2009 you can cry if you want to.
He approaches the open driver-side window.
Officer: (looking at my expired
Me: “No, I live in
Officer: “Okay, I see. Sorry I misunderstood you there.”
Huh? “Sorry”? “Misunderstood me”? I feel a window open, like perhaps if I reply with, “Why would I live in that union state. Did you hear they still think they won the war of northern aggression?” maybe we would have a good laugh and he would welcome me to
Officer: “Okay, now since your drivers license is expired I can’t let you drive home, so you’re going to have to get someone to pick you up.”
“Of course,” I respond, as though we are talking about someone else – some dimwitted jerk who got caught speeding with an expired license.
Officer: “Go ahead and call someone, I’ll be right back with your tickets.”
Plural. Ballsack. But no time to worry about that. Instead I begin plotting how I will explain to Brooke that she has to take a 20-minute taxi ride to come pick me up because I’m not allowed to drive myself home. I consider starting with a joke, like “Did you hear about the new restaurant on the moon? The food’s great but there’s no atmosphere! So I got pulled over and need you to come get me.”
I dial her number. Voicemail. Fuck me. Dial again. More voicemail. Here come those tears.
I continue this process for about ten minutes while the officer is back in his car dealing with, I imagine, all the writers’ cramps from my litany of offenses. Still unable to get through to Brooke, the officer again returns to my car.
Officer: “Somebody coming to get you?”
Me: “I tried calling my girlfriend but she hasn’t picked up. She’s the only person I know in
Officer: (stone face)
This isn’t true, of course. I know lots of people in
So with the officer still in his car behind me, I gingerly pull up the 200 feet and into the parking lot. I swing into a spot and begin calling Brooke again. Nothing. At this point, I figure the best thing to do would be to drink. So I take my literature with me into a little French restaurant in the mall and sit at the bar. The eastern European-looking woman tending bar asks me what I’ll have. I order a beer and settle in with my documentation to go over my options (bend over and take it by mail, bend over and take it by phone, or hang tight and we’ll let you know when you can come down here in person to bend over and take it). The look on my face – a flushed combination of disappointment and self-loathing – must have given something away, because the bartender asked if everything was alright.
“Yes,” I respond, taking a swig of beer. “It’s just that my girlfriend won’t call me back.” This must have come out way more depressing than I had intended, because she then tilts her head to the side and replies with tenderness in her eyes, “Sometimes you just have to move on.”
A few minutes later, I finally get through to Brooke and explain the situation.
Brooke: “Is the officer gone?”
Brooke: “So just drive home.”
Me: “That’s a great idea. Then if the police officer is waiting at the entrance of the mall and he catches me I’LL BE ARRESTED. I can’t go to prison. I don’t even smoke.”
Brooke: “Fine, I’ll be right there. But you’re taking me to dinner.”
Me: “As long as you drive . . .”
After hanging up the phone, I down one more beer and tip the bartender nicely, thinking she’s right: Sometimes you just have to move on.*
* But not before blogging about it.