The first time I was in a car that was pulled over by the police I was 15 and with 4 or 5 boys (I just know there were one too many people for seat belts). They were my age or older. We had all had some beer. Some of the guys had smoked pot. (Pot was never my thing; I’m too much of a control freak). I was really scared. Terrified actually. I can still remember the sheer panic I felt thinking of the trouble I was going get in, not with the police, but with my mom. I was asked to blow in the breathalyzer test. I did. Something registered but it was low. Lower than the boys I was with. We were taken to the police station. We gave our information. I was asked why I was in a town so far away from where I lived. I was asked why was I hanging out with these boys in the first place. I was told I was not being charged with anything. My mom was called. She came to pick me up. I was ashamed. I was scared. I was remorseful. And I was grateful that I hadn’t been charged.
The first time I was pulled over for a speeding ticket my stomach dropped. I was shaky. I was also terrified…again of getting in trouble and having to tell my mom. Now that I’m adult speeding tickets are not scary. They are inconvenient. They are procedural. They negate the gain of speeding in the first place. I am not terrified. I don’t have to inform a parent. And I’ve learned by now that they are no big deal. A ticket is just a fine. I only have to part ways with money that I would have rather kept for myself.
When I was in labor with my daughter we got pulled over by a police officer on the way to the hospital. Apparently my husband, in his haste, did a rolling stop at a stop sign on a deserted street. It was in the middle of the night and near South Street in Philadelphia – a prime place for drunk drivers. I was annoyed and impatient. I urged my husband to just step out of the car and tell the officer that I was in labored. He declined and waited patiently for the officer to approach. I remember thinking, with extreme aggravation, “What the hell do you think is going to happen? He’s not going to shoot you for stepping out of the car. Just explain the situation so we can GO!” I verbalized some version of these statements repeatedly to him as he just sat there waiting. As the officer approached, my husband said, “I know this is going to sound like a cliché but my wife is in labor and we are on the way to the hospital.” He had barely finished his sentence before the officer quickly urged him along “GO!” There was no taking of information or explaining while we were stopped. There was no more conversation at all. We quickly zipped back out onto the street, said "that'll be a great story someday", and made it to the hospital in what turned out to be plenty of time.Read More