August 08, 2006

How not to get a ticket, though you totally deserve one

I, Liz, author of Legwarmers and generally cool girl, otherwise, drive a Pontiac Vibe.

(Can't you just hear the browsers of men across the globe clicking closed right now?)

I chose this vehicle a few years ago when I was doing guerrilla marketing work and traveling by car along the west coast for weeks on end, lugging materials, samples and the like around. I needed a car that was easy to get stuff in and out of, had backseats that would lay down (giving me the cargo room of a pickup truck), and wasn't a gas-guzzler (I'd like to say this was because I'm environmentally conscious, but in this case I was just broke as a joke. Sorry to dissapoint).

A Vibe it was. And while I get lots of "wagon" jokes from my friends (also the "when are you due?" jokes, as it appears to be a car for a girl in a family way), I love the little sucker. It just reminds me of a good-gas-mileage-getting baby SUV. Practical, practical, practical. Decent sound system. Sunroof. And easy to park. So that's the car.

Now, while I'm reasonably good about knowing my way around cars (I used to drive a 1976 Chevy 3/4 ton pickup truck that was constantly needing belts changed, headlights out, flat tires and -- admittedly operator error -- running out of gas) I'm no mechanic. And, while I'm great at getting things done and staying organized at work, I really suck at taking care of myself.

Bills, for example. I have the hardest time just sitting down and paying them. Also, much to my mother's endless frustration, checkbook balancing. I mean, what? (I know, I know, Mom. Very irresponsible.) Even more heartstopping for my parents was when they realized I basically made up my taxes last year and sent in a random check -- the day after they were due -- in the hopes that I got close enough to the right amount that they wouldn't notice that I completely made stuff up. Well, they did. (Who knew those particular government employees were so dilligent? Huh.) My family almost had me convinced I'd be doing prison time for that one. And, of course, mailboxes. But the point I'm trying to get to, really, is my car.

The Vibe regularly gets her oil changed. And sometimes on a slow sunday, I'll get her washed. But since I drove her off the lot two years ago, she's had the same tags (yes, they've been expired for two years) and no front license plate (very illegal in Washington state). Also, while I always pay for insurance (THANK YOU, GEICO, for letting me do that online, and with a credit card!), I only put the proof in my car maybe every other year or so.

So that pretty much sets up this story. Exhausted yet?

The Vibe doesn't have what you'd call a huge engine or anything, so when it accomplishes huge feats of speed or power, I always give her a little pat on the dash. This weekend, on our way to the cabin (again), my friend L and I did just this after the Vibe crested a steep mountain pass at a respectable 65 miles per hour, seemingly without trying.

"Good girl," we both said, patting the dash like a small child, and turning up the music so we could sing again without hurting each other's ears.

Our windows were down, the sunroof was open, I was halfway through an iced Americano, and things were going just dandy. Heck, we hadn't even had a near-death experience yet. Which may not seem like a big deal to you, but please remember: I'm a pretty bad driver.

As we cruised down the other side of the mountain pass, I looked down at my speedometer.

"95 miles per hour, Linds! The Vibe is totally kicking ass!" I screeched, as if the Vibe were driving all by herself. I braked a little, reining in the wild wagon, to a much more reasonable 75.

"Wow,"I said. "Good thing there weren't any cops around!"
"I didn't know she had it in her," laughed L. <"Has she ever gotten a speeding ticket?"

And that's when I saw it. White car, coming towards us going the opposite way. Three lights in red, white and blue on top.

"Shit!" I breathed, braking hard. "COP."
"Be nonchalant, be breezy," said Lindsey.
Good thinking, I thought. I tossed my head and smiled, hands at 10 and 2, still braking hard. Be breezy. Breezy. Nonchalant. Noncha--

Siren. Before the cop had even completed his U-turn, the lights and siren were on.

"Fuckfuckfuck," I hissed bewteen clenched teeth, in my most ladylike voice, as I was still trying hard to be nonchalant, unsuspecting, breezy. "Motherfucker, I'm going to get a ticket." (Again, think very sweet voice, innocent expression.)

The cop pulled to a stop behind us on the shoulder of the mountain road.

"Linds, quick -- look in the glovebox for my registration. Or whatever," I said.

"Well, what does that look like?" she asked, as she opened the glovebox (which burst open, as if spring-loaded, spewing forth a stack of papers rivaling a standard phone book.) She began to dig, frantically, through the pile.

"I don't know! I don't even know if they're in there! But just look, for God's sakes!"

The officer approached the car. I rolled down the window, removed my sunglasses, and looked up at him.

"Were you watching your speed this afternoon, ladies?"

"Well, I thought we were -- it's actually funny, we were just talking about speeding. And how you shouldn't, and stuff. Plus, we were going downhill, which, you know... inertia... and gravity... makes it hard..." I trailed off, lamely, and gave a sheepish smile.

"Okay, license, please?" The officer didn't seem amused... yet.

"Uh, yeah," I pawed through my predictably unorganized wallet. "See, I just renewed it, so I have this lame paper one for now, but here are my last three expired ones -- which one do you want?"

"That's fine," the officer said. "How about registration? Insurance?"

At this point, I look over to the passenger's seat, where L has been working on finding these super-critical docs for the last 3 or 4 minutes. It more or less looks like a blizzard in the passenger's seat. Where her hands should be there is just a mass of crumpled, multi-colored paper. She's essentially up to her neck in documents, none of which are my registration.

"Is this it?" She asks, holding something out.
"No," said the officer, "That's a service reciept."
"Oh. This?"
"Nope. That's a CD booklet."
"This must be it, then..."
"Those would be a gum wrapper and a condom, miss."

At this point, Lindsey looks over at me, exhasperated and completely convinced we're going to get a ticket that will put me on welfare. I'm hysterically giggling, and apologizing profusely.

"Oh, god. This is so embarrassing. I know it's here somewhere..." L and I both furrow our brows and continue to dig, knowing full well the chances of us coming up with anything are verrrry slim. "Seriously. I think I need to clean out the glovebox, wouldn't you say? I am so sorry. We must be getting close..."

The officer chuckled (I know, I was surprised, too) and walked back to his car, shaking his head.

Finally, "FOUND IT!!!" L had landed her paws on the critical registration document. I held it out the window and waved it enthusiastically at the officer, who was on his walkie talkie and clearly indisposed.

"Officer!! Found it!! Found it!!"

There were cars whizzing by us at easily 70 MPH. I must have been crazy to think the thing wasn't going to blow out of my hands and over the edge of the mountain, lost forever. Somehow, I managed to hang on.

The cop waved, ackgnowledging our find, and came back to the car, after he got off his little walkie talkie thingie.

"Found it, huh?"
"Yep! And my old proof of insurance, too. See, it just expired, but I also just realized something really cool!" I said, like a moron.

Somehow, I thought this man was my friend, and had forgotten entirelly that he had clocked me going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, in a car with no front license plate, 2-year old tabs, no proof of insurance, and a driver with a paper license in it.

"See, I just realized that I could totally call Geico and they could email me the proof of insurance, and then I could show it to you on my Blackberry!!" When I said "Blackberry", I whipped it out of it's little holder in my car and waved it around like it was buried treasure. "Isn't that cool? Want me to? Because I totally have insurance..."

"You could do that, huh?" the cop smiled (actually smiled!), like you would smile at an 8 year old with fingerpaints on his face or a kindergartener who you just caught eating paste or picking her nose. Or a puppy.

"That is pretty neat," he said. "But that's okay. You guys just get going. And watch for the speed trap up ahead -- it goes down to 50 miles per hour there and you don't want to get caught in that construction zone."

"O...kay," I said, in disbelief. From under a pile of paper, next to me, I heard L's muffled voice: "Th-thanks, officer!"

"Drive safe!" He said, before giving the Vibe a little, affectionate, pat and walking back to his car.

So let's recap, shall we?

1. I have a dorky, underpowered car that I love
2. I am the world's worst driver
3. I completely lack the skills necessary to take responsible care of myself
4. I was going 95 miles per hour in a 60 (in the dorky, underpowered car that I love)
5. An officer caught us, in the dorky underpowered car that I love, with no license plate, expired tags, recklessly driving, with no license or proof of insurance) and with us giggling like unorganized maniacs, throwing papers all over the car and out into the road and flailing technology around like it would save us, and still didn't give us a ticket.

6. I am awesome. Or awesomely lucky. Or both.

Hope your week is going as well as mine!


jali said...

That's Karma at work. You've been good to someone so good things come to you.

That is the greatest 'didn't get a ticket' story I have ever heard!

Trebuchet said...

Oh, yes. I've been doing lots of good. For example, when someone cut me off on my way to work today, I didn't ram my car into them or scream "If I knew where you lived, I'd hunt down and kill your favorite pet!!" or anything.

Though that could have had to do more with the fact that I had a balanced breakfast than anything...

Oh, also, I didn't kick the copy machine today when it got its fourth paper jam before noon.

And I flossed.

Cue halo, right?

Blonde Vigilante said... had me laughing my ass off.

We have several things in not paying bills on time, not keeping things where they should be. Ahhh...isn't 25 grand. Oh, and we are also both Tauruses. Is that how you spell that?

Chuckles said...

I don't pay shit on time all that often either. I have been working on that. Except taxes. I owe a bunch for various reasons (like all the drugs I sold last year and the booty I found on that deserted island in the Chesapeake) but I haven't even done my taxes yet...

Women have it so easy. Just a giggle and a smile and off you go.

I punched this cop once and they totally beat my ass and arrested me? What is that?

Trebuchet said...

Blonde: Most people spell Taurus "stubborn, self-righteous asshole". But I like your way better. I must say, I tend to have Gemini-esque tendencies anyway.

Chuckles: you found booty? WHAT? Isn't finding booty what Legwarmers is all about?

Tell me where/how/when/how it was.

Oh... wait... THAT kind of booty.

Yeah, I'm already rich, so it's cool. Nevermind.

Mom of Three said...

I could tell you weren't getting a ticket about 1/2 way into that story! I'll bet that cop is telling that one around the station tonight...

Do it while you can. I was young and cute once. Now I actually GET the tickets!

Chuckles said...

By the way, all karma is bad. To attain enlightenment you must move out of the cycle of karma and simply perform good acts because they are good, not because they will bring you good. The cycle of karma is a false enlightenment brought on by selfish feelings.

I keep booty to myself because I know it would only tempt others to perform bad acts.

winters said...


Very cool story. Great result!

Next time I get pulled over, I'll try your tactics. Although I just don't think they'd have quite the same effect...

Egan said...

How much cleavage were you showing? Sorry, that out of line for a first comment on your blog.

Hi, I'm a Taurus.

ShadowAngel said...

OMG that's so wild! I thought I was lucky when I wiggled out of a ticket for talking on a cell phone while driving by being extremely nervous and flustered, but my story doesn't even come close!

BTW for many years I drove a Geo Prizm - you'd be amazed how well that stupid little thing got through snowdrifts!

Trebuchet said...


While quite forward, I'd say a cleavage question is also quite in line with the standard for Legwarmers comments.

The answer: NONE! I'm sure it was my charm, and that exclusively, which got me off the proverbial hook. Though I'm certainly not above leveraging my "womanly assets"...


Egan said...

I've used my on own ass[ets] to get me out of tickets. It works wonders with the proper people.

Do you wear legwarmers to bed? I do.

Anthony Umfer said...

Any chance of learning to write this well by osmosis? Here's hoping.

Anyway funny stuff, and you didn't even have to cry!