What I learned this week…

I was pulled over this morning. The thing is, as soon as I saw the blues and reds coming up in the rear view, I basically knew what it was about. I’ve never entirely cured myself of the lead foot that’s afflicted me since dad first put me behind the wheel of a mid-1980s Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera when I was about twelve. I had a lot of horsepower and a wide open road and, well, one thing led to another.

My point is, I didn’t get pulled over because this particular trooper felt like being a jerk this morning. The guy was doing his job and just happened to be sitting somewhere where he got a good look at me being stupid.

Once we pulled off to the side of the road, I waited patiently, kept my hands visible on the steering wheel, didn’t fidget or reach around for things, and waited for him to come up alongside. I produced my registration, insurance, and driver’s license – while narrating what I was doing and where I was reaching; left rear pocket for wallet, glovebox for everything else.

Directly behind my driver’s license in my wallet is the license that the state of Maryland requires me to hold to purchase handguns. He obviously saw it. The trooper asked if I had any guns in the vehicle. No, sir. Hands back to a very visible place on the wheel. OK.

I sat quietly for about five minutes, waiting for someone, somewhere to report back that I have no current points, no history of violations, and I’m not sitting on a stack of warrants.

Once we confirmed all that, I was handed back my documentation, issued a warning, and told to be safely on my way.

Every word that passed between me and this particular trooper was civil and professional. I didn’t feel any compulsion to give the guy a hard time or make an already dangerous job more difficult. I didn’t want to make a point or try to capture the whole thing with my phone.

We were sitting there on the side of a two lane country road because I gave him a reason to put me there.

So what did I learn this week? Nothing new, just a good solid reminder that if you act like you’ve got half a brain in your damned head, accept that you too can be in the wrong, and don’t antagonize the officer who’s just trying to get through his day, an engagement with the police doesn’t need to result with rolling around in the ditch getting your dumb ass shot.

Left turn, Clyde…

To help give a little insight into how I spent most of the day yesterday, I wanted to provide a public service announcement to all the drivers out there. In most vehicles these days there’s a toggle switch on the steering column that controls the left and right turn signals that alert drivers around you to your intended course of action. For instance, when you’re in the turn lane with you blinker flashing, the rest of us assume that you are actually going to go ahead and turn in the direction indicated by your flashing signal. Well over 99% of the time, that’s exactly what happens. It happens with such regularity that it’s one of those things that the driving public just assumes to be true. They assume it to be true right up until the moment when it’s not true and they find themselves pummeled by a face full of airbag. You see, fellow drivers, when you signal one intention and then do something else, bad things tend to happen to everyone involved.

In case anyone is wondering, I’m fine. The dogs are fine. The Tundra, however, is distinctly not fine. We’ll find out just how not fine it is next week when the insurance adjuster and body shop get a look at it. In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and write that check for the deductible so we can get on with getting Big Red back on the road. Nothing like doing $20,000 of damage to two vehicles because the asshat in the turning lane is perplexed by the concept of a turn signal. Meh. It’s safe for everyone to assume I’ve gone from the thankful not to be hurt stage to the throughly annoyed because my truck is torn up stage of the process.

Despite being throughly annoyed, I do have a few shout outs. Special thanks to the Maryland State Police for a professional and rapid response. Of course it helps that we were less than 500 yards from their parking lot. To my dad, thanks for the loaner car. I’ll do my best not to get fooled by anyone else’s signal while I’m driving your ride. Mom, thanks for not freaking out too badly when I called to give you a heads up. She doesn’t think this is a blog/Facebook-appropriate topic, so don’t give her too much crap about me posting about it ok? Thanks. And finally props to my evil stepmother – thanks for driving over and hauling me and the dogs halfway across the state yesterday.

So that’s the short version of my Saturday. It’s safe to say this is not the relaxing and restful three day weekend I was anticipating.