"THAT’S WHEN THE POLICE CAR STOPPED ME!”
It was a frigid day in February with snow and the roads were covered with big patches of snow and ice and I was at school. The day was “faculty senate” which meant that students were off and the faculty spent the day discussing important matters. On these days, the staff had an hour for lunch.
But I didn’t have lunch that day for I had an appointment with a foot doctor at 10:30 that morning. My principal kindly let me leave about 10 a.m. so that I could make it there on time. The reason for my going was not critical but then and again, an ingrown toenail causes horrid pain. And I had one on my left toe.
Hobbling to my again snow-covered car [it was a Miata convertible that had the hard top on that day] I managed to get in and take off my boots. You see, I am probably the only person around who not only drives with no shoes on [or boots] but also with both feet! And my left foot is used for the brake but remember I had that horrid pain. And as I got ready to back out into the street, both of my feet were already feeling frozen.
Snow and ice covered streets strike fear in my heart and that day was no exception. I was driving around the icy patches to avoid skidding and had to get off of the hill to the main road and ahead of me I saw the street light on red. And I also saw a train over in the distance: That meant that I would be stuck there at that stop light forever and I panicked. There were two cars way ahead of me stopped and no traffic was coming up the hill due to the train—for the cars coming that way were stuck at the railroad crossing. Traffic was also blocked past the stop light for the train held them up as well.
Had driven this hill forever and yes, I was aware of the double yellow lines that were painted on the street. But my toe was on fire and I was going to miss my doctor’s appointment and so I did the inevitable: I crossed those yellow lines and got ahead of those two parked cars at the stop light and made a right onto the street. By doing that I knew that I could circumvent the traffic by going around several streets. Bad thing was that as I made that right turn, I noticed a police car stuck in the traffic and thought that perhaps the policeman didn’t see me.
Feeling that I would make the appointment and that I had escaped not getting caught, I was on the bridge and on my way when I heard the siren blaring behind me. Couldn’t be me I thought but it was! I stopped and opened up my car door and started to get out—I had never been stopped by the police in my entire life.
All of a sudden the policeman got out his bull horn and screamed: “Do not get out of the car! Do not get out of the car!” That’s when extreme fear set in and I was paralyzed right there and then. He came over to me and said that not only had I crossed the double yellow line [Yes, he was the one and he’d seen me do that] but that I was driving erratically. I began to explain that ice scared me, my toe was on fire and that I had a doctor’s appointment and that I had just left school. My fingers were fumbling trying to find my license as well as my registration card in the glove box—I acted like someone who had just been caught for some horrible crime.
He just stared at me with his mouth open. And waited. And I knew I was going to get a ticket and not get my toe fixed! But he said to me, “Oh never mind! No one could make that up!”
I was never so thankful in my entire life and never so nervous. Crept all the way to the doctor’s office, got my toe worked on and drove back still in pain but more haywire than before for I was sure that I would be stopped again. It wasn’t as if I were doing anything wrong coming back to school but it was the fear from earlier.
To this day, I still get that anxious feeling if a police car is behind me or beside me: I was that traumatized. Had I known to stay in the car that day when I got stopped, it would have been easier to have dealt with the situation but I didn’t.
One thing is for sure—if I am ever stopped again, I will never attempt to get out of my car but I may still be driving erractically for the fear of ice and snow still scares me. And guess what? When it’s that bad outside, I don’t drive in it—I don’t have to! But if I would have to [with no shoes on driving with both feet] I would be on the alert for a blue light or a police car. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it!