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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Friday, November 09, 2007

My Wife Got Pulled Over for Drunk Driving Last Night!

We'd been partying all night, it's true. Doing crazy things that, frankly, people our age rarely have the energy to do. We felt like a couple of teenagers again and stayed out way too late. It was about 1:15 AM, to be exact--on a Thursday night no less. It was fun, but we were worn out. As always, we were the last to leave. Lights out. Doors locked. All we had to do was drive safely home.

Because she had some errands earlier that day, we were in separate cars. I took a shorter route home and was a minute ahead of Julie when she called me on my cell phone.

"Hey, Tom, you might want to come back here. I just got pulled over."

"By a cop?" I asked, as if "pulled over" has many cultural nuances.

"I think so." she whispered.

"You think it's a cop? Why did you stop if you're not sure it's a cop?"

"I'm pretty sure... I mean there are red and blue lights going around and I'm squinting in the rearview mirror because his lights are shining so bright at the car, but he hasn't come up to my window yet."

"He's running your plates. Just sit there and keep calm."

"Okay. I'll just stay on the phone until I see his badge. Here he comes." I heard the window roll down. Julie was first to speak.
"Hello, Officer, is everything all right?"

"Ma'am, were you on your cell phone while I was following you?"

"No. I didn't even know you were back there until you turned on the siren-light thingy. Then I called my husband because you didn't come out of your car and it was making me nervous."

"Well, Ma'am, you make me nervous..." Click... Silence.
Julie had closed her cell phone and hung up on me in the middle of the policeman's sentence. She later told me it was part of an attempt to look less nervous.

By then, I was pulling in our driveway, trying to decide if it would help or hurt matters if I went back to the scene. Julie has never gotten a ticket in her life--that's right... never. Not one. I knew that would definitely help her case.

Speaking of cases. Come to find out, that was the problem. It was the cases of empty brown bottles in the van’s rear window that raised the officer's concern. Oh, how I wished I had not stacked them high above the window line and that Julie had not lit them up with all the inside "accent" lights.

I'd better explain from the beginning or you will begin wondering what sort of double life the man at POI is living....

As you all know, I'm the administrator of a fine school I don't mention by name on my blog. For about six years in a row, my wife and I have helped out with the Sadie Hawkins Party. It's a high school "reverse courtesy" event (i.e. girls ask guys), but most of the kids just come as friends and have a great time. Each year, the Senior Class chooses a theme and does most of the work with the help of some teachers and parents. Last year was a "Ho-Down" out in a barn; this year, was a 1950's "Sock Hop" at the roller rink. There were lots of other activities, but I'll cut to the chase...

We had purchased six cases of bottled pop at Sam's Club. We chose to get bottles as part of the whole "retro" atmosphere. You should have seen us and the students, by the way. There was a couple dozen poodle skirts, white socks, rolled jeans. They looked great. I had my hair slicked back, a leather jacket, and an old pair of "Buddy Holly" black horn-rim glasses.

There's no school today, so the party was late by design with the last part being a big-screen Fifties movie, popcorn, and root beer floats back at the school. ANYWAY!.... After the party, Julie and I and the seniors were cleaning up the gym, and I carried three cases of empty Jones Pop bottles and three cases of empty IBC Root Beer bottles out to our van (to return to Sam's Club for the 10 cent/bottle deposit).

You POI faithful readers know a few things about me. I'm kind of a nostalgia buff. I enjoy knowing the history of odd little cultural things like my favorite soft drink, Vernors. You also know from a series of six posts last March, that I have my reasons for being a total abstainer from alcohol. Part five applies to the good clean fun our kids had last night. [Parts 1-3, 4, and 6.] My wife and I don't drink and never have. The "retro" brown bottles were originally used by early 20th Century drug stores and soft drink bottlers because light shortened the shelf life of their product.

As naive as this may sound, it did not occur to me what stacks of empty IBC Root Beer bottles would look like to a police officer following my wife after 1:00 in the morning. He says she was swerving a little and that her tires hit the yellow line once. There is a little more play in the steering wheel than Julie is used to, but the soft lines of her driving were not the real issue. Some other signs led the officer to understandable conclusions.

"Where are you coming from?" he asked.

"A party." Julie said blankly.

"You better explain that..." Natalie whispered. (Nat is not in high school and stayed at a friend's house where she was sleeping until Julie picked her up after the party.)

The officer shined his flashlight on our youngest daughter bundled in PJs and a coat in the passenger seat. With her knit hat pulled down to her groggy eyes, she looked like a kid-napped, homeless midget.

The officer must have thought, What's a kid that age doing out in the wee hours on a school night? but all he said was, "Is that your child?"

Julie smiled and explained the whole evening right up to my loading the van... and then her eyes lit up. "Oh, you saw the bottles in the back window. That's why you pulled me over, right?"

"They caught my eye, Ma'am, and at this hour of the night, you looked pretty suspicious. I could go the rest of my career an not hear an explanation so opposite what I was thinking... but I need to see your license just the same."

He ran her license and must have been impressed that a lady of... well... nearly my age (though she looks much younger--especially in a poodle skirt)... has never had a single ticket. He simply walked back to her window, handed her the license and said, "You have a good night, Ma'am."

I am very grateful for the men in blue who take no chances in such matters. There is nothing funny about people who drink and drive, but I’m sure he had a laugh telling the story (as I have telling you this morning!).

That officer was not the first man to be "won over" by Julie's disarming charm, calm smile, honest voice, and good clean livin'. I was, too...
nearly thirty years ago!
.
.
[Next chapter about the Duncan Phyfe still coming. I could not resist telling you Julie got busted. We could all use a good laugh right about now.]

26 Comments:

Blogger Dr.John said...

I am glad he didn't give her a ticket . Some policemen look for reasons to give tickets.

9/11/07 7:35 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Dr. John,
I forgot to say that when Julie explained it was only root beer, he asked if she had been drinking. She again said, "Only root beer." He said, "Do you think maybe you have a sugar buzz."
"I'm fine, officer." He kept asking questions, but there just wasn't anything he could give a ticket for. Once he was convinced, he didn't even give her a warning.

9/11/07 8:03 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

This is so funny! I can't wait to see her next week, maybe she should be on charge of refreshments for the scrapbooking fundraiser this year! I bet we have a great time! Thanks for sharing I needed the laugh.

Julie in Muskegon

9/11/07 11:53 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Julie B.
You have the benefit of knowing my Julie and can better imagine the irony of this story. It's sort of like hearing about an Amish lady getting pulled over for speeding in a buggy. It still makes me smile to think of it. Funny thing... when I pulled into the driveway, I knew she would not get a ticket. She was under the speed limit, etc. It was just an example of legitimate "profiling"--there were enough suspicious signs to warrant checking it out. We're glad to know the local small town police are on their toes.

10/11/07 8:38 AM  
Blogger the walking man said...

All I can say is I am glad she wasn't in Roseville, they would have had her face pressed into the hot hood of their car, your child hauled off by DSS workers and her in the hoosegow for driving with suspicious empties.

I guess you can tell I will not be in Roseville anytime soon, now that I finally got my drivers license back (4 months) which the state suspended at Roseville PD's request because I was groggy after an accident that slammed my head hard enough where now 7 months later I still have to go through cognition therapy and testing.

In Roseville these days all they would have heard from your wife is the word beer without the root in front of it.

Oh well party on Garth!

Peace

mark

10/11/07 9:06 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

TWM (Mark),
I don't doubt what you're saying. The last time I was in Roseville, it did look different from my childhood (except for some landmarks, like Huron Park Elementary school). This officer was pretty easy going once he knew she was not running a still (or buying for minors).
Glad to hear you can drive again. Next summer you need to take that big-rig RV out on the road again!
Tom

10/11/07 10:36 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

This is so funny... plus a great ending. I love the photo of the two of you. You both look so happy and in love! Thanks for sharing and I'm looking forward to the next chapter.

10/11/07 10:42 AM  
Blogger Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Glad all ended well. It's funny in retrospect but I am sure it was tense then.

10/11/07 1:52 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Nancy,
I'm glad you came by. One of the reasons I posted this was to lift our spirits from the previous post.
"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. "Proverbs 15:13

LGS,
When she first called she was nervous because he stayed in the squad car for about five minutes. She was beginning to think it was one of those "fake" policeman cons, but he was real. At that time, he didn't know it would be a woman with such a good explanation.

10/11/07 5:11 PM  
Blogger jewell said...

That is hilarious! I bet the cop even laughed when he got back in the squad car.

10/11/07 5:45 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Jewell,
I'm glad you caught this post. As soon as he heard the name of the school and who she was and who I was on the other end of the phone... it started sounding credible. She was only a mile from the school. It was funny. I'm glad it happened to Julie and not me, though. =)

10/11/07 5:56 PM  
Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

I know all too well about the aftermath of drunk driving; I see it in my students faces every day.

I can't wait to see those childhood photos! Bring'em on!

11/11/07 1:49 AM  
Blogger Sondra said...

That is such a funny story.
You will be telling that one for a long time to come.

11/11/07 6:08 AM  
Anonymous Rhea said...

I am glad it turned out OK. Funny, how suspicious someone can look even when they've done nothing wrong.

11/11/07 10:53 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

JRT,
The more I think about it... I almost feel bad that this struck us as funny. It was just so ironic. But there is nothing funny about alcohol's effect on our minds and reactions--especially on the roads.
It'll be a while before I post those old pictures I found. Gotta wrap up this story in time for Thanksgiving.

Sondra,
Welcome to POI. Things like that don't often happen to Julie. Feel free to peruse the archives. There's some posts about retro toys, etc. I think you'll like. =)

Rhea,
It was her innocence that carried the day, but if this had ended in a ticket for some petty thing, we'd not be laughing about it.
Julie drives with the inside "accent" lights on in this conversion van... so all those bottles were lit up for the officer following her. He was playing a hunch.

11/11/07 7:22 PM  
Blogger HeiressChild said...

aaahhhh, i especially love the final paragraph tom.

11/11/07 10:26 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

HC,
It's very true, and she was a good sport to let me share this story.

11/11/07 11:44 PM  
Blogger Cris said...

Oh now that was definitely too funny and certainly not something anyone will ever forget, I'm sure. :P

12/11/07 7:17 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Really great story! I knew from the title that all wasn't as it seemed. You can only assume that even the 'professional' drunk drivers (that sadly exist in this world) at least know enough not to put their bottles on display like that.

Thanks for sharing.

Julie in Colorado

13/11/07 6:24 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Cris,
It has helped us understand howit feels to be "profiled," in in most cases, let's face it...profiling is a fair collection of hunches. "If it walks like a duck..."

Julie in CO,
I think you're right. It was obvious that he should have known it was not as it appeared. I must admit I was glad to take those bottles back to the store yesterday. Live and learn. =)

13/11/07 11:41 PM  
Blogger Christal said...

So glad I popped over again.... This was a great laugh! Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

18/11/07 1:11 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Christal,
It has been ages. I hope all is going well and that all the news from your husband in Iraq is good.

18/11/07 8:57 PM  
Blogger Christal said...

Hey there, I DO know what records are LOL! I am old enough to have had a Fisher Price record player when I was little... Even got shocked by the cord on Christmas Eve once~ LOL! Tom hasn't left yet... December 10th is the big day for him! Thanks for thinking of him and wishing us well!

20/11/07 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Stephen & Lora said...

Tell Julie that we know her parents raised her better than to get pulled over for drunk driving. It just goes to show that nothing good happens after midnight...or that's what MY Dad always told me.

30/11/07 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Stephen & Lora said...

...and one more thing. Your school theme is "Different on Purpose" not "...by Accident."

30/11/07 10:40 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Stephen and Lora,
Isn't this funny! Little ol' Julie. So glad you read this because you can fully appreciate the irony! =)

2/12/07 12:30 PM  

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