Today is the last day of my summer vacation and to say that it didn't exactly go as planned would be an understatement. I headed out early to take care of a few errands and it was on my way back home that a local police officer ran a very random plate check. An old traffic ticket of mine, long since paid and forgotten, was still lingering in the system and causing no end of havoc. Thus ended any plans I might have once made.
Now, don't get all flustered or anything. It's not like they slapped the cuffs on me right there and then. As the nice policeman put it:
1. I could tell in less than a minute that this was gonna be one of those crazy, huge misunderstandings
2. We've only got the one cell and there's kind of somebody in there right now. I'm pretty sure you two wouldn't get along...
This was followed by a rather lively discussion between us regarding the fun one can have making new friends. I find that, in these sorts of situations, it is best to be respectful, understanding and to retain a good sense of humor about the whole thing. Humor, especially when it's not expected, can be appreciated. It can also be rather disarming. The officer and I were still chatting amicably when the tow truck arrived. (hardened criminals such as myself cannot be trusted to drive until we prove ourselves worthy, you know...) The tow guy was impressed.
This is an impound? Really? Usually by this time there's someone in the middle of the road giving me the finger and stuff...
Disarming. That's the key, here. I disarmed the heck out of this situation and in temperatures quickly rising to 90 degrees. In the end, the nice policeman even gave me a ride home. This, apparently, is frowned upon when dealing with the criminal element, but he felt really badly about the whole situation. Plus, I probably reminded him of his mom or something.
I mean...I had to ride in the back and everything, but that was OK. If you're not actually in handcuffs, riding in the back of a police car is kind of cool. My escort sort of ruined it by offering to let me have the window open. I declined because that is not what edgy, wild women such as myself do. We don't take charity from The Man ever! He also didn't do that thing where the cop puts a hand over the perp's head when the enter and exit the vehicle like they do on TV. That was kind of disappointing, but I wasn't really in a position to make demands at that point. I thanked him for his consideration and shook his hand like Mommy Sheep taught me.
That was the end of my fun. Once back home, I needed to begin Dealing With Matters. The rest of the day was spent on the phone or waiting for people to call me back so I might know what to do next. Or whom to call next. It took a while, but I finally managed to convince The Establishment that I was worthy of driving privileges. I retrieved my license and rescued my car from the impound people and if I had to walk around town in what was now 95 degree heat, well that's just the way things go sometimes. It's also the way the day goes because, by then, the hour was growing late and summer vacation was basically done.
For all this, I am going to surprise you by saying that I feel like pretty much the luckiest person strolling the planet right now. Truly. Because if this same set of circumstances had happened in any other place or time...I probably would have been arrested.
Seriously. It could have happened on the highway while I made my way to work. It could have happened in front of the school where I teach. This could easily have been a Cuff The Perp And Ask Questions Later kind of situation. That was one of the things the nice policeman and I were chatting about while we waited for the tow truck.
Instead, the whole thing played out during a very small window where I had the time to deal with matters and while the right people were sitting at their desks to take my calls. Oh, by the way...one other thing. Until further notice, there are to be no words of ill will aimed at the Maine Department Of Motor Vehicles. At least three of today's calls went to one extension there and I can honestly say that I have never before been treated so respectfully and kindly or with such understanding. The woman who worked with me on this went so far above and beyond the call of duty that she was probably hovering above her cubicle for a time. I'll likely change my mind regarding the status of this particular government office at some point but, for now, we praise the DMV. Long and loud...
The day is done and I'm back to being a respectable member of the driving community. I somehow managed to find the only people in the whole world who could untangle this situation enough to extricate me and it all happened so close to home that I barely had time to miss the place. And I was not in handcuffs at any point during the festivities. When I say this could have gone worse, I am so totally NOT kidding.
And school tomorrow? Well...I still don't want to go. I would much rather be on vacation for another decade or two. Working for a living is a dull thing indeed when compared to being on vacation. But, I gotta tellya...
I have never before been so utterly and straight-from-the-bottom-of-my-heart grateful to be able to go back to work tomorrow.
Dateline – Toronto
15 hours ago