I'm just happy I'm not in jail
So. A few months ago, I realized I never got the registration renewal in the mail for my car. Registering your car here is an ordeal. You have to go to like 20 different places, and in even years you have to do this, and in odd years you have to do that, and really? I'm supposed to keep track of all that? So I go to the DMV to try to get a printout of my renewal notice, and they won't give me one. I ask them what I need to get (emissions? inspection? property tax receipt?) and they tell me to refer to my renewal notice. Which they won't give me. And around and around we go. Needless to say the registration was not renewed that day.
Three days after that debacle, all the stuff goes down at work, and renewing my registration takes a backseat to figuring out my entire life. I'm like, why should I waste DAYS of my life getting it registered if I'm just gonna get rid of my car or register it somewhere else? So, in the meantime, until everything gets figured out, I've been playing a fun little game of keep-away with the cops. If I see a police car in my mirror, I immediately pull off onto a side street or into a parking lot until they drive by. It's thrilling and stressful and completely juvenile, all at once. It's like The Fugitive, only without Tommy Lee Jones and the one-armed man.
So over the weekend, I'm driving to the gym, and I see a state trooper in the high school parking lot. (Hello, random.) A couple seconds later, he turns onto the road and I'm like, what do I do ... pull off, keep going, pull off, keep going ... and then I think, Swish, you are SO neurotic, he's a state trooper, he's just going to get on the highway, and besides, this little game you keep playing with the police? It's RIDICULOUS. YOU ARE NOT IN A MOVIE STARRING HARRISON FORD. BE A GROWN-UP.
So I keep driving. And, indeed, he heads for the highway ... until all of a sudden he cuts over into my lane. I wait a second, and then I move into the other lane. He moves over behind me. I move back. He follows me. At this point the little alarm goes off in my head and I'm like, ABORT! ABORT! ABORT! I throw on my blinker, turn off onto a side street, and ... too late. There they are, those red and blue lights I've come to love.
I seriously do not care about being pulled over. I know I deserve it, I know I'm lucky I haven't been pulled over sooner, I know. I'm actually a little relieved, because he'll give me a ticket and that'll buy me 30 days of guilt-free driving before I have to do anything (they won't ticket you for that more than once in a 30-day period). And by then hopefully I'll have my stuff figured out. So, you know, win-win. Sort of.
He comes up to my window: "Do you know you're driving with an expired registration?"
Yes, I say, but of course I don't leave it there. I have to give him my whole life story: "So I went to the DMV, and I told them I didn't get my thing, and they were like, you don't need the thing, but then I was like, well, then why does it say it's mandatory? And they said because it IS mandatory ... but then they wouldn't give it to me! AND they wouldn't tell me what else I needed, and I know I need my personal property tax, but I don't know if I need the emissions and whatever else too, and I know you can do it every two years but I do it every year, so it's always confusing ... and, you know, by the way, supposedly I'm supposed to be moving next month, but I don't even know what's going on at work because they won't tell me, and they were SUPPOSED to tell me last week but they didn't, so SUPPOSEDLY they'll tell me this week, but, you know, I'll believe THAT when I see it, so ..."
He gets this look like, seriously, they don't pay me nearly enough for this shit. The strung-out drug addicts, the midnight shootouts at the strip club, the high-speed chases, fine. But Miss High Maintenance driving down the street with an expired registration? No, thank you.
And then he looks at me, and it goes from bad to worse. "So," he says, "were you wearing your seatbelt when I pulled you over?"
I point at my seatbelt, which is securely fastened as I sit in an upright position. "Yeah."
"You were wearing your seatbelt?"
"You sure about that?"
"You were wearing it when I stopped you?"
"Why are you lying?"
"You weren't wearing it. I saw you."
"When you pulled me over? Yes, I was too wearing it."
He starts yelling--YELLING--at me. "You're lying! Why are you lying to me? It's only a 10-dollar ticket!"
"Well, if it's only a 10-dollar ticket, why are you YELLING AT ME?"
Still yelling: "Because you're LYING."
"I'm NOT lying." I give him a dirty look. "What do you need? My license?"
"I need you to admit you put on your seatbelt after I stopped you."
"Well, I didn't."
"I don't know why you won't just admit it."
"Because I DIDN'T." Pause. "License and ...?"
"License and insurance. And for you to admit you're lying."
"OK, but I'm NOT."
We continue to bicker while I rummage past the spare tampon, pink pen and 16 hair things in my glove compartment and unearth my insurance. It does not, for one second, occur to me that perhaps I should not be bickering with a man who's carrying a gun, pepper spray and possibly a taser. Instead, I'm acting like he's my boyfriend and we're fighting over whether I ate the last piece of Jello No-Bake Cheesecake out of the fridge. ("I didn't!" I say. "I saw you put it in your mouth!" he says. And so on.)
He comes back with my ticket, because CLEARLY I am not charming my way out of anything here. Before he can even say a word, I stick my head out the window and give him my brattiest "channeling a petulant 13-year-old" look. "You know, I don't really understand why you have to yell at me. Why is that necessary?"
"OK, well, why is it necessary to lie?"
"I DIDN'T. I didn't TECHNICALLY have it on ALL the way the ENTIRE time, but it WAS on when you pulled me over, which is what you asked."
(I demonstrate what I'm taking about.)
"Is that the way you're supposed to wear your seatbelt?"
"No ... but why do you have to YELL?"
He pauses, and really, we could go either way here. I could be hauled off, kicking and screaming, to the county jail or ... "OK," he says. "I'm sorry."
"It's all right," I say. "I'm sorry, too."
"I really hope you make the decision to renew your registration," he says.
"OK," I say. "I will. I hope you have a good rest of the day."
"All right," he says. "Make sure you wear your seatbelt."
I am going to renew my registration this weekend. And I have properly worn my seatbelt ever since. I am not conceding a thing, however, when it comes to the Jello No-Bake.