July 2nd, 2010 9:13am - Phones and Cops

Whenever California's Finest, the policemen, pull me over, they eye me up and down. Those jackbooted thugs look at me like I'm a lazy-eyed giraffe with one too-short leg trying to run. This is generally because I'm a half-wit when it comes to driving. I've been pulled over for speeding nine times, going too slow, once. I've been pulled over for running stop signs, not using my turn signal, having outdated registration, tailgating, making an illegal turn as well as an illegal u-turn, going the wrong way down a one-way street, and for having a side mirror ACE bandage wrapped. The side mirror eventually led to the issuance of a warrant for my arrest. I sent in the paperwork but didn't comprehend I needed to include a fifteen dollar processing fee. I blame my eyesight.
Last night, I attended the Windsor Town Green's Summer Nights with my mom and a friend. The Windsor Summer Nights equates the parents and the frail rocking out with wine to an eighty's cover band. The swelling population enveloped the floods of grass with umbrellas, tents, blankets, and lawn chairs. Laid-out blankets on the grass were as common as chronic acne on a teenager. Hours before I arrived, my mom dropped in at the Town Green to spread her blanket and chairs. She emailed me a photo from her iPhone of the blankets on the grass, so I could locate where she was sitting. The picture didn't reveal any landmarks or defining elements that I would be able to recognize. The photo exhibited a downward view of the blankets. I could determine my mom had located a spot somewhere on the half-acre of grass. Once there, it took three phone calls, a four-minute conversation, and my mom waving her arms, screaming, and flailing around doing jumping jacks before I located the small colony my mom had settled.
I was supposed to meet my dad for dinner two hours after arrival. The restaurant was a twenty minute drive away. I calculated wine consumption and time constraints with driving. I consumed the majority of a bottle of wine. I'm no mathematician. When my dad called to disclose the restaurant name and location, my Chardonnay and the Led Zeppelin posers inhibited my brain's abilities to retain information. I heard, "Fourth Street," and what sounded suspiciously like, "Pluto's." I didn't hear a street number. I left the live music five minutes before dinner's start time. I drove up and down downtown Santa Rosa in my brother's 4Runner. I molested restaurant names with my eyes. My shitty eyesight didn't register a restaurant resembling the name Pluto.
My dad answers his cell phone one in every hundred times his children call. I've called him when I've been locked out of the house, when he left me at a soccer game, when I locked myself out of my car with the engine running, and when I set the kitchen on fire. He didn't answer. The only times he answers is when I happen to call to say hi. Predictably, I was a half hour late to dinner, and I didn't know where dinner was. The third time I harassed my dad's phone, I made complete, replete, uncut eye contact with a man of the uniform. I flung the phone towards the passenger seat and into my purse like it was a bowling ball. I turned right. The cop car immediately pulled out behind me with his flashing Christmas lights. I parked in the Santa Rosa Plaza's parking lot.
Cute Cop was Hispanic and a bit short for me, but he stepped up to the passenger window and asked if I knew why he pulled me over.
"One of two things?" I replied, knowing he saw me on my phone while driving. I also knew that it wouldn't take a police prodigy to see that the car's registration had expired in March.
"Well, I won't cite you for the California rolling stop," Cute Cop said with a smile.
"I didn't California roll! I wasn't even at a stop sign, I had been at a red light," I bellowed. I made a mental note to not let my abusive alcoholic side glisten its way into the situation. Cute Cop's smile went AWOL.
"License and registration," he recited.
I opened my brother's glove compartment. It pooped out an explosion of papers. I ransacked through my brother's first formal job offer, his grades from his last semester at USC, parking tickets, and the car's registration from three years ago. I explained to Cute Cop that I was just in town for a wedding and a week, that I lived in New Zealand, and that this was my brother's car. I was on the phone because I was calling my dad to see where I was supposed to meet him for dinner. I still had thousands of papers farting on my lap.
"Oh, here's your license," Cute Cop asserted and reached in through the open passenger window and into my purse. I'm sure that was illegal. He extracted my friend Kat's license, which was installed on top of my open purse.
"This isn't you." Cute Cop should go for detective.
"I know. It's actually my friend's, mine's in my wallet."
"Is this your fake identification?"
Kat and I both have blonde hair and light eyes. To men, we look like the same person. To cops, we look alike.
"My friend left it in the car, I just have to return it to her."
"Are you over twenty-one?"
"Yes, I'm actually twenty-four. Look, her bra's in the back-seat. I'm telling you, she left her life in the car."
My boobies don't fit into a size A bra. Kat has hooters. Detective could clearly see that the bra wasn't mine. I scanned the back-seat for open alcohol containers or knives or anything that could land me in the slammer. I sighed when the only thing back there were the legs of Kat's jeans positioned in a sexually suggestive way.
"I still need your license and registration," Detective announced. The look on his face mirrored the way my mom regarded me when I was young and affirmed that I had fed the cat. He was skeptical.
I handed him my license from my wallet, but said I had no idea where the registration would be. It didn't occur to me until later that there was no current registration.
"You said you live in New Zealand?"
"Then you don't have your current address on your license. That's illegal."
"Well, I'm living in New Zealand for a year, this address is my permanent address, and I don't think the state would issue me a California driver's license with a New Zealand address," I said.
Detective walked to his car, ran my license and the 4Runner's plates, and then came to the driver's side to return my license. His smile peaced out as I exhaled.
"Have you had anything to drink?" he asked.
"No, Sir."
"Are you sure? You smell like wine."
"Well, I was just at the Windsor Town Green and my mom was drinking wine," I answered. This made as much sense as the time I peed in the bushes in front of my friend's house. Three bathrooms were available inside. But Detective said, "Oh, I grew up in Windsor."
We exchanged where we went to high school, what sports we played, and what we've been doing since graduation.
When I mentioned I like to shoot guns, he shook his head. "Too far," he said.
After another five minutes and an hour overdue for dinner with my dad, Detective said I could go, but I had to make sure not to talk on the phone anymore while driving.
"Okay," I agreed. "Quick question," I spoke to his turned back. "Do you happen to know of a restaurant on Fourth that sounds something like Pluto's? Might be Bruno's? Or something? I'm really late to meet my dad for dinner and I don't know where it is."
Detective radioed it in to his fellow coppers, and got a reply that someone would look it up on an iPhone.
Two minutes later, the other voice bombed over the radio with, "1226. Bruno's. Are you citing her for the phone violation?"
"Oh, she must be cute."
"You're on speakerphone."

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