Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Learner's Permit Story

I'd just received my Learner's Permit to drive (this is, of course, back in the days of the Flintstones).

And I got pulled over for speeding.

I didn't even have my damn Operator's License yet and I've already been arrested for a moving violation.

I was SO NERVOUS when the officer approached the car I nearly pissed my pants. Calm down. Calm down. OK. What is it they said in Driver's Education Class I was supposed to provide a police officer when asked? License and registration. I don't even HAVE a license yet. Well, I'm off to a bad start.

And that's what he asked for, "Let me see your license and registration ... Boy." They always have to use the obligatory, Boy. If you're a male, that is.

I reached into my wallet, hands shaking, and pulled out the paper Learner's Permit and handed it to the police officer. What I didn't know was that I'd accidentally picked up a folded $20 bill that was tucked in my wallet BEHIND the permit. I'd given that to the sunglass-wearing officer too.

Oh shit. Now my simple traffic violation has turned into a felony.

He, of course, commented on the $20, "What's this for ... Boy?"

Three things:

1. I wasn't trying to bribe him and told him so.
2. If I HAD been trying to bribe him, I sure as hell wouldn't have tried with a mere $20.
3. I didn't have enough money to give away $20.

Fortunately, as proof, my face turned white, my pants were wet and I was shaking so bad my voice was cracking, "N-n-nothing, S-s-s-sir. It was just in my w-w-w-wallet and I I I..." He cut me off, gave me back the $20, told me to slow it down and let me go.

Ever tried to push in a clutch with wet pants?


Ryan The Intern said...

For some reason, I have.

And great story. Loved it. Here's a not-as-funny-response.

The town I live in (Athens, Ohio) has only a handful of roads and for reasons I still don't follow, set the speed limit for its busiest road at 25 miles per hour. It's got four lanes. Anyway.

Last year, I'm driving to Wal-Mart real quick while the rest of my roommates get ready to play street hockey. I'm a goalie so I don't need all the time for pregame skate maintenance like they do. Having missed lunch, I grab a baguette to eat on the way home before I get changed so I won't be famished for the game. I'm still in a rush, so I turn left out of the Wal-Mart parking lot on a green light and almost collide head-on with a car driving straight ahead (which is rare from that side). I mean, we were close. Yikes. Shaken but undeterred, I'm laying on the gas, driving with my left hand and shifting with my baguette hand.

Cop lights. Dammit. I pull over, put my bread in the center console and prepare for the worst.

"What was that?"

"What was what?"

"What'd you put down in the center there, what were you messing with?"

I reach for the half-eaten loaf of bread sitting by my gear shift.


He stared for a while.

"Do you know why I stopped you?"


"Anything else?"



"That thing at Wal-Mart back there?"

"Yeah, that thing at Wal-Mart back there. And you were going 43."

We did the obligatory license and registration dance, he walked back to his car, and that's when my phone started ringing.

My team's goalie was officially late and everyone I lived with decided to call me one right after the other until I picked up or...until Christ came back, I guess. Again, and again, and again, the bridge from "I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart" kept starting and I kept silencing it. Sweating, nervous and (worst of all) hungry, I figured even a quick "Call you back" would not have gone over well with a cop who thought I was a reckless, speeding, bread-munching idiot.

There's not much else except the officer refused to believe that I'd never had a citation before. Could not fathom it. Asked about 80 times. And I had to pay 99 bucks.

Life's funny.

bonsairick said...

Don't you just love it when a cop says, "..."?

I once burned a cop with a cigarette while handing him my driver's license. Actually twice. Same cop, same night. And he let me GO! But that's another story for another time.

Great story, Ryan!