Here we are at Friday. Update (days later) on my TOTAL ADVENTURE IN WHICH I LEFT THE HOUSE AND MET REAL-LIFE PEOPLE! No one got murdered or WAS murdered, first of all. I know you were wondering. Oh, what’s that, you weren’t wondering, because obviously, since I’m writing this, I’m still alive? How do you know I’m writing this and it’s not my DOPPELGANGER, huh? Totally blew your mind, right? I know it. I mean, I might have doppelgangers. MULTIPLE doppelgangers. You just never know about such things.
Anyway, I went out – to a bar, with PEOPLE in it! I KNOW! – and met up with people I have previously only spoken to on Twitter (but one of them I saw from far away across a theater once, if that counts at all, so I was pretty sure he wasn’t a ghost or something.) And they were lovely! And I was only KIND OF awkward. Listen, the sheer fact that I left my house and socially interacted with strangers is huge, cut me some slack, Jack. I have social anxiety like a mofo. No, seriously, I just took this TOTALLY SCIENCY TEST which is from a COLLEGE so you KNOW it’s not screwing around and it said I have a 61 which means GO SEEK HELP YOU ARE BROKEN. Well, it’s on the low end of go seek help you are broken, but still, going out in public into a situation where I am not comfortable and know no one makes me hyperventilate and also super-nervous. YOU SHOULD BE SO PROUD OF ME. (One of my friends says there are pills you can take that ameliorate the symptoms of social anxiety, but I worry about pills. The two times people put me on anti-crazy drugs were not successes. I am much better without medication for my crazy than I am with. Cross-my-heart-promise.)
Anyway, Chris and Tim were lovely (and so brave! They absolutely got up in front of a WHOLE ROOM OF PEOPLE and TALKED! I know, right? Aren’t you so impressed? I was. Oh, wait, that makes it sound like I met them at AA or something. NO NO. It was a storytelling event, not AA. WE ARE NOT ALL IN AA) and I had a very nice time. THEN, on the way HOME, I totally almost went to jail.
I might be exaggerating a little. For effect. As I do. But there were police involved. And flashing lights. And sirens sirening.
So I don’t know downtown Albany the best. YES, I’ve lived in the area for almost a decade, I’VE TOLD YOU, I have directional issues. I kind of knew if I drove in a certain direction there should be an exit for the highway home. So I drove that way. There was a totally obnoxious truck all up on my ass. Why in the middle of the night (FINE, it was 10pm, that’s late for a Monday, though, right?) is there always some asshat who could go around you but thinks it’s better to ride your ass like you’re his pony? I AM NOT YOUR PONY WHITE PICKUP TRUCK! I saw a sign (FINALLY!) for my highway. It said to keep left. So I got in the left lane. Only, the sign failed to say IMMEDIATELY LEFT! NOW! NOW! turn left, so I went past my turn and ended up in a thing that wasn’t a lane, but all crosshatched off. So I merged over into the right lane. Of COURSE the truck was there, and he’s all HONK HOOOOONK even though I didn’t come CLOSE to hitting him. You asshatty truck. Then I realized if I u-turned (or, in the parlance of my college years, “hooked a u-ey”) I could get back to where I needed to be originally and get onto the highway. (The truck, luckily, was long gone. Sayonara, Dick McGurk.)
So I u-turned, saw some lights, didn’t see that I had a red OR a green, assumed that was because I pulled too far up (I have a BAD TENDENCY of doing that, the worst, THE WORST), and turned right onto the little road that leads to the highway under a bridge. (No, there were no trolls, only a lot of pigeon poo.) There were no cars around except one car waiting at the light. None. So dead. 10pm on a Monday night in downtown Albany, which is mostly office buildings, who’s hanging out at office buildings at 10pm on a Monday night? No one.
Yeah. Well, the car waiting at the light, which I failed to see because I was all panicky and lost and freaking the hell out? Was a cop. Who was all WHOOP WHOOP! with his lights and siren and ran the red and jetted after me. I was all, “whaaaa? Really? Sheesh” and pulled over under the bridge.
So listen. I’ve been pulled over three times in my life.
- By accident, because the guy in front of me who had a similar car was driving aggressively and the cop pulled me over and was all, “any idea why I pulled you over?” and I was like, “um. No?” and he was like, “Shit. I thought I might have gotten the wrong car, sorry” and let me go immediately
- For going 35 in a 25 (WAY TO BE NITPICKY!) and I got off with a warning
- For not having valid insurance or registration (this one I deserved, I was broke and couldn’t afford to renew anything and the ticket was GINORMOUS so karma totally bit my ass that time)
I don’t ever know how to react when I’m pulled over. It always makes me want to do one of two things:
Get all defensive and in-your-facey because I hate AUTHORETEH.
I waited in the car for what seemed like an eternity. The cop finally walked up.
“Hello,” he said. “What’s going on?”
“I was lost, but now I am not lost,” I said. “I don’t know that I handled that turn in the best way I could have, though. Heh. Sorry.”
He was all serious-faced. “Where are you going?”
I pointed at the sign that was like ten feet in front of us for the highway. “Right there.”
He nodded. “You’re almost there,” he said. That seemed like a very stupid thing to say – OBVIOUSLY I was almost there, I could have spit out of the window and hit the sign – but probably not a good thing to point that out to the cop. “Where are you coming from?”
I almost said the name of the bar, then I realized that might open up a whole “have you been drinking tonight, ma’am” conversation, and I really hadn’t, because I knew I’d be driving home and I get buzzed quickly and it takes a while to wear off so I’d only had a glass of water. But people don’t tend to believe you when you say you’re coming from a bar and you didn’t even have one drink. They look at you like you’re a pathological liar. “Hanging out with some friends at a storytelling event,” I said. “I’m really sorry. I never come downtown. I’m ridiculous about directions. I get lost in my own backyard. Ha. Ha ha.”
He did not think I was at all funny, damn him. I should have told him to read my blog, I talk about getting lost all the TIME on here. “License and registration, please.”
I kind of wanted to ask him what exactly I was being pulled over for – being lost? Illegal u-turning? Missing my turn? Had I run a stoplight I didn’t know was there? But I realized that was probably rude, and if I got a ticket, he had to write it on there, anyway, so if I was just patient, I’d find out soon enough.
Luckily, I had recently found my registration, because it had been missing for a while. I handed them over. I remembered the one time years ago the cop needed my insurance, and asked him if he wanted that, but he said he didn’t. He was all, “sit tight,” and walked off to his car. Huh. Sit tight. Like I’m going to make a run for it, you’ve got my damn license and registration. I NEED THOSE FOR LIFE.
Then two more cops pulled up with their lights and sirens on, and I was all, well, eff, I guess I have a warrant out on me, because look at all these cops. WHAT IS HAPPENING. But they got out of their cars and were all chatting in the street under the bridge and laughing and I realized they were just bored as shit at 10pm on a Monday night and they were boys with their toys about the sirens and lights and that made me laugh a little.
Then the cop came back after what seemed like ANOTHER eternity and I saw that he had my license and registration, but nothing else, and I was like, oh, sheesh, I think maybe I dodged a ticket-sized bullet here.
“I know you just got flustered because that truck was honking at you, but be more careful next time,” he said, handing me back my paperwork. “Go up here, take a left, and that’s the highway. There are some cones up there. They’re doing some construction. Don’t hit the cones, ok?”
I agreed very solemnly I would not hit the cones. (Bee tee dubs, I totally almost hit the cones. In my defense, they came up a LOT sooner than I expected. Damn you, stealth cones!)
“Have a nice night,” he said, and then left.
I FOUGHT THE LAW AND TOTALLY WON YO!
OK, or didn’t fight anyone and no one won OR lost but I still didn’t get a ticket. I would like to know what exactly the ticket would have been for, had there BEEN a ticket, but STILL, I did not GET one. Whew. I tried to find out how much tickets were for various things in New York but apparently that’s state secrets (heh, state secrets, good one) but the internet’s not being helpful at all. Let’s assume it would have been ONE MEEEELION DOLLARS. That sounds reasonable, right? Totally does.
Also, I just want to say that I drive that SAME HIGHWAY every single TIME I go home from the theater EVERY TIME I COME HOME and I speed like a DEMON (speed limit’s 55 and I tend to go between 65-80) and I have NEVER been pulled over but I got randomly pulled over for something I can’t even figure out trying to GET to the highway? Odd. Oh, cops, don’t read that paragraph, ok? Thanks.
Anyway. Thank you, cop, for not giving me a ticket for whatever I did wrong. And, honky truck of honkadonia, you can bite me, I hope you’re happy for getting me all flustery and you got home like .00002 seconds sooner secure in your knowledge that YOU HONKED AT SOMEONE WHO WAS LOST SO YOU ARE A WINNER.
So, other than totally almost being ARRESTED and JAILED* (*might be hyperbole) I had a very nice time out in public around people. Isn’t that nice? Yes, it totally is. Thank you, Chris and Tim!
(Title’s from Arlo’s “Alice’s Restaurant.” OBVIOUSLY. As anything crime- or police-related probably always and forever will be. Four more months! I see Arlo in FOUR MORE MONTHS!)