by Michele Christopher
FTTW writer Pril steps out of her usual column to bring us a Sunday Special.
Anyone who knows me knows I think speed limits are mere suggestions. In my mind, that white sign with the numbers is just telling me what my minimum speed should be. So when I told my friends about being pulled over for going TOO SLOW, no one believed me.
A couple of years ago my mom gave us her old car, a 1987 Camry, with the 1.8 liter engine, automatic. Your basic crapmobile, with some issues. But it ran pretty damn good, and driving it to Oregon from LA I had gotten it up to 105 near Trinity on the 101. And the little car had this interesting bit of history about it.
My mom had parked it outside her complex for the night and it was broken into and stolen. The thieves took it on a police chase, down PV Drive, I guess, going over 90. I know that road. Going over 50 on parts of it is just dumbassery. Anyway. They jumped a curb and wrecked it. They were busted, the car recovered, and the insurance paid to rebuild the side that got slammed.
I got the car about eight months later.
One morning I was taking a shortcut through a residential neighborhood on my way to Joan the Bone's house. A sort of hilly little area. I’m put-putting along, because that’s what the car does anyway. Residential speed limits are like 25, think.
I pull up to a stop sign at the bottom of a hill. I look both ways. Then a cop comes up behind me. I’m ok - I’ve been legal to drive again for three years, I got nothin' in the car I shouldn’t have, I’m insured. Bitchin. Tags are good on the plates. But I’m in a quandary as to how to proceed up the hill with this cop behind me.
If I punch it, I’ll bust 40, just to make it up the hill. If I just do the leisurely thing, I’m going to hit it at about 15 and it’s just going to go slower as I go up this hill. I take the slow course of action. Here we go.. rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr up the hill. Car’s laboring hard, man, I tell ya.
I finally get to the top, and on level ground I’m picking up speed again. Then, POW on go those goddamn lights behind me. I stop. Dudes, I’m like, in my jammies.
Mr. Officer asks me why I’m going so slow. All I can think of to say is that, basically, I’m driving a piece of crap, an underpowered automatic with an exhaust leak. He says my vehicle is unsafe. Oookaaay. He takes my stuff and goes to his car, and he’s gone for, I dunno, a WHILE.
He comes back. “You want to explain to me why the plates on this car show up as stolen in the database?” I figured, ok I haven't got anything really to lose here, because I know the car is legal and everything, and this guy is just one more local dick trying to bust me, like the seven others who had pulled me over in the last five months. So I laughed. Oh my god I laughed. How ridiculous, anyway.
So I had to tell him the whole stupid story about it being stolen in LA, and he looked at me like I was a total dipshit. He checked all the numbers, though, so there was absolutely nothing he could do, because they all matched.
Then he let me go, but he said that by 7pm that night he wanted the paperwork from the recovering PD, a copy of the police report and proof that I had gotten a temp permit on the car ON HIS DESK.
I had it all faxed to him. Then I left a message for him on his voicemail, something about I know he had better things to do, like busting the cranksters up the street where he pulled me over, and I was going to start filing complaints with the local departments over harassment. It was getting out of hand. But those stories are for some other time. Some time in the Shut Up and Play Your Guitar column, because it all comes down to being in a band…
Pril may be slow to drive uphill, but she's too fast for love