I began my “Yay I’m Almost 50 North American World Tour Xtravapaloooooza!™” with a road trip around the Great Lakes accompanied by my 13-year-old niece and occasionally the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. It was not the longest road trip I have taken but it was the most time I have spent in a tiny car with another human and I am happy to say we both survived the experience and enjoyed it.
Our adventure began with me being super courteous to the dedicated police officer who rightfully pulled me over for failing to slow down while driving through his speed trap, err 4-block town, I otherwise always slow down for when passing through. Yep, 10-minutes into the trip I was handing my license and outdated insurance card to a cop and swearing like a muther in my head while my niece was smirking and imagining her epic adventure was going to involve a night in jail.
My speeding ticket acquisition went like every other one from my past: I saw the car; I thought “oh shit”; I slammed on my breaks to hit a speed below the limit; I tried to be invisible; I starred intently into my rear view mirror; I irrationally panicked that I had an unknown warrant out for my arrest and would end up in jail; I tried to convince myself he was pulling out behind me for other reasons than to ticket me; I sighed when the lights flashed on; I pulled over; I tried to act cool; I momentarily wondered if crying would help; I scolded myself and felt shame for thinking about crying; I smiled and admitted my transgression while apologizing profusely; and I got a ticket.
Some day I will master The Force and convince the cops I am not the speeder they are looking for or better yet have my own T.A.R.D.I.S. and not have to bother with these conventional speed and safety laws. Until that day arrives, I will pay a hefty fee when I cross that acceptable threshold over the legal limit.
While the police officer was in his car typing on something and talking on something else, I was in my car embarrassed and trying to not get disproportionally pissed. I imagined every car swishing by full of people laughing at my bad luck and grateful they were not suffering the same fate. I was frustrated as I always, well almost always, slow down going through these small towns in outstate Minnesota, but on this day, I was distracted and I missed the speed limit change. Lame. In between the fits of internal profanity, I told myself that this was not a big deal and this was not going to ruin my trip. I tried to not think about the smirking niece in the seat next to me and the glee she would feel telling this story to her mom and my mom.
The officer returned and asked, “Do you have current license tabs, did you renew your auto registration?”
I looked at him stunned, my mouth agape and thought, “fuuuuuuuuuuuck!” Just 16 minutes ago, as I loaded my niece’s bags into my trunk, I noticed my license plate tabs were for April 2014. I stared at the tabs for a while and started to worry until some idiot in my brain convinced the rest of me that the 2014 meant that was they year I GOT the tabs not when they expired. Moron. Suddenly, I vaguely recalled getting a renewal reminder.
“I’m sure I paid for new tabs and didn’t get them. I think I paid for new tabs. I hope I paid for tabs. Why the hell didn’t I pay for tabs? Crap, I think I forgot. I forgot. I’m sorry. Shit.” As I rambled incoherently, the cop smiled and just said, “It happens.”
He handed me a ticket and scolded me for all of my oversights as he highlighted his awesomeness for cutting me some slack on the recorded speed, verifying my insurance was current and giving me a warning on the tabs. He explained when my court date would be if I wanted to fight the ticket, nope, and he warned me that there is some special patrol out and about so I might want to let up on the speed.
As he walked away, I exhaled and finally stopped swearing in my brain. I carefully pulled out and slowly accelerated to the posted limit. Cars flew by me and I was tempted to push on the gas but I did not want to set a record for speeding tickets in a day. Driving slow sucks. Speeding tickets suck more.
The next morning I spent an hour at the DMV and was grateful I had the opportunity to resolve the expired registration before I tried to leave the country; I tried to not get annoyed that it took me over an hour and I was number “006” in line.
The rest of my trip I was obnoxiously cautious about my speed which was super sucky in Canada as the posted limit is so slow and the natives drive so fast; I cannot count the number of times I verified my kilometer conversion was correct because it was sucky slow. Luckily, the scenery was beautiful and the slowness allowed us to spot some bears and a fox. Also lucky, is I did not get any more tickets…cuz I drove painfully slow…which sucked.