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A run-in with the law

October 16, 2013

I came over the hill and saw him. Staring blankly back at me. As fast as I could manage, my foot glanced the brake and I slowed. If cars had faces (as a young child I got this idea in my head and forever see their head-lighted eyes, grill noses and bumper mouths) then this cop car was glaring at me.

My eyes to my speedometer, everything is moving in slow motion, but I see clearly that needle somewhere between 75 and 80. Definitely speeding. My eyes to the rear view. The cop car pulls out and hard turns left to begin to follow me. I mutter an expletive under my breath. The other folks in the car (there are four of us on our way upstate to a friend’s wedding) confused “What happened?”

“I’m about to get pulled over.”

“Really?” Twisting their necks around, the cop in the rearview. Still no lights.

I concentrate on keeping her steady and my eyes on the road and wait in anticipation for those flashing lights. The shoulder of the highway grew and the lights flipped on. I pulled over.

It had been a while, but that feeling is instantly familiar. The dread of sitting there waiting for a cop to come up to your window after they’ve pulled you over. And they know it too; they wait. They take their time, fix stuff on their mirror before very deliberately they dismount and saunter towards your window.

As he got closer and I saw that he had his hand down next to his gun, I was very happy to not have been doing anything seriously wrong. He introduced himself, a New York State Trooper, and asked for my license and registration. I had them ready and handed them over.

“It’s a rental,” I said clearly. He nodded.

“Where are you coming from?”

“New York City.”

“Where are you headed?”

“A wedding up in New Lebanon.”

“Do you know why I pulled you over?”

“I’m guessing speeding.” He nodded.

“Do you know how fast you were going?”

I thought for a second. A flash of the speedometer somewhere between 75 and 80.


He smirks, “That’s pretty close.” Pauses. Smiles. “That’s right on actually.”

“Do I get points for accuracy?” I joke. He smiles. This is going very well.

He surveys the car. Two friends in the backseat. A suit hanging in the back. We must look very wholesome, in our rented car. Emily with printed directions and the wedding information on white paper. He loosens up a bit as he steps back half a step from the car. A breeze.