The Day I Lost My Mind

I am embarrassed to even write this, but I promised I would. . .

You see. It all starts with this bridge. There’s an extremely long bridge, The Causeway, that connects where I live to New Orleans. By long, I mean 23 miles. At minimum, I cross this bridge twice week and often it is much, much more than that. You see, Charlie’s Feldenkrais therapy is in on the other side, as is my brother, my parents, and most of the good restaurants. On my side we’ve got better public schools and lower flood insurance, which is why we live here instead of there.

Anyway, anyone who knows anything about anything knows that you DO NOT speed on the Causeway. You can go four miles over the speed limit and that is the absolute maximum. After that, well, expect to get pulled over.
Every time I get on the bridge, I set my cruise and cross the bridge with no problems. I pass multiple police officers without breaking a sweat. I’m a rule-follower when it comes to the Causeway. This is mostly because everyone knows that the Causeway has more money than things to do, so you best not become the object of their wrath.

At the end of the bridge, the speed limit drops rapidly from 65 mph to 35 mph and this is one of the places they love to pull people over. I know this.
Well, today I was a little distracted. I’d had an especially stressful morning, one in which I’d found out that I may have to cancel our February trip to Plano because I’m having trouble finding a companion, and while I like to play rock solid here on the ole bloggy, blog, it does take a village to raise a Charlie and some days are harder than others.
So! Distracted! Exiting the Bridge! Suddenly I realize that I am, in fact, exiting and begin breaking rapidly. Well, too little too late I found out. A few yards after the bridge, police officer steps out into the road. She points at my car and makes some hand gestures. Then, she points at the car next to me and makes some hand gestures. I think, “Whew!” I guess I slowed down in time and then continue on my way. I thought she’d been waving us on.
Not so much. Actually, the cop thought I was a fugitive from justice. She RAN to her car like the bionic woman and caught up with me three yard away where I was stopped at a red light. She gets on the loud speaker, “OWNER OF THE FORD TAURUS–PULL INTO THE U-HAUL PARKING LOT.” Not good, right? Well, I pull in there, and then she makes me back out of a parking spot and continue driving through the parking lot and then on some more until she finds an abandoned parking lot in which to properly cite me.
I’m already not happy with the situation. I prefer to be pulled over in public location with plenty of public scrutiny. That’s just how I roll.
She gets on her megaphone–I mean, really?–and tells me to get out my license, proof of insurance, and registration. I’m getting annoyed. It’s taken five minutes just to pull me over, and I’ve got a Feldenkrais appointment that I have to pay for, whether we attend it or not.

The good girl in me is still ashamed for speeding and ready to take my punishment as quickly as possible. I’m not one to argue or try to get out of a ticket–if I’ve done something wrong, then I’m prepared to take the punishment.

So, she comes to my window and I hand her my license and insurance card, and say brightly, “I’ve got so many insurance cards, it’s hard to figure out which one’s current. Let me get my registration!”
And then she replies, “Why did you ignore me when I told you to pull over?”
I’m still trying to be nice at this point and say, “I thought you were waving me on. “
And she says, “NO. I did this.”

And then she proceeds to do more of that crazy hand waving business and at that point I lost my ever-loving mind. I mean really. Do the police actually think that ANYONE knows what those crazy signals mean? More than once I’ve been at an intersection wondering if I should go. . . or not. . . and it’s one thing to use it, and another thing entirely to assume that every blooming person on the planet has undergone police training.

And you know? She didn’t have to be rude about it. I worked with surly adolescents for years and rudeness never got me anywhere. A simple explanation of the different signals would have made me a more competent driver–instead, she decided to power trip on me and for whatever reason, I snapped.

So I say “Sorry. I don’t have a degree in hand signals. You don’t have to get an attitude.”


I’m lucky she didn’t haul me out of the car and taze me just for fun.

So when I finally get my ticket, it’s not only for speeding, but I have to appear in court for, you guessed it, failure to obey police orders. When she asked me to sign it I refused. I obeyed her orders! That’s how I ended up in an abandoned parking lot! She told me that signing was not an admission of guilt–just an admission that I’d received the ticket and that if I didn’t sign it, she could arrest me. It said right there on the form, “Not an admission of guilt,” so I did sign it, but I tell you what, I was gettin’ hot and indignant. I was stickin’ up for the little guy! I was a freedom fighter! Ok, I was none of those things, but in the moment, I was feelin’ it.

Of course, now I just feel like a hot-head.

So there ya go. The ugly side of Bird on the Street.
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  1. LOL – Thanks for the laugh. I am sure it wasn't as funny when it was happening as it was retelling it. I have no idea what all of those hand signals mean either. In fact I almost ran a construction crew guy over the other day cause he was being stupid and I was clueless…lol

  2. Ohhhhhh Katy,
    Good grief! I am right there with you! That is plain awful!!!!!
    You poor thing! I got a ticket for doin' 55 in a 35, after I pulled out of a parking lot! There was no way I was even doin' 25! There was another Explorer passing me and I think the cop got us mixed up! I was literally pulling out of the lot and got blue lighted! It was the town chief, too! I explained that I had just pulled out but he was havin' none of it. He gave me a court date but it was the same as a Very important MRI for Faith and he refused to change the date. (did I mention, this was out of state?) So I HAD to pay the fine, so I mailed it. Then about a month later I get a letter telling me I did not pay the full amount and they were going to put a warrent out for my arrest! WHAT? So I called the police station and APPARENTLY when the cop wrote the ticket HE forgot that they had a rate increase and charged me the old fine! SO after all that I had to get another money order and mail it certified mail to make up the difference for his SECOND mistake! CURSES………

  3. See ya in court, officer. I wonder if she would even show up. I would have kept driving to a well viewed area, since that is your right.

    What is with people and their attitudes?

  4. MelissaInk says:

    Well, SOMEONE is doing nothing for the opinion of female police officers. What a nightmare.

    The way I understand it (and I could be wrong) is that you have a RIGHT to pull over in a spot that you feel is safe. (I've been told to turn on my dome light as an acknowledgment that I know you're signaling for me, but I want to go some place well-lit and safe.) That might be wrong, but it's what I was taught by people older than me.

    Can't wait to hear how court goes. I think you handled it well :)

    I clapped the last time I got a ticket and said, "Oh, thanks SOOOO much."


  6. Well, I had to laugh at that one. I never get the hand signals either. But, the loud speaker crap would have put me over the edge right up front. I have driven that Causeway before, and it seemed endless. I can see how it would be easy to let your mind drift to other things–nothing but concrete and water.

  7. Mamá Terapeuta says:

    Loved this side of BOTS! (oops, your acronym doesn't sound right… ;D)

    Were you able to get to your Feldnekrais app????

  8. You know, I've gotten several speeding tickets and the absolute worst attitude and most unfair behavior was also from the one female officer I encountered. The men have always been polite and non confrontational.
    The woman tailed me as soon as I pulled out of a parking lot, on a dark country road, causing me to speed up because I was nervous that this person was about to REAR END me (at that point I had no idea it was a cop car- all I saw was blinding lights in my rear view mirror. As soon as I hit sixty one (the limit was sixty) she turned on her lights. I was flabbergasted, honestly. I even called her on it, and accused her of goading me to speed, and she just shrugged and said, "Whatever. Ticket stands."
    I'm sorry, but I do think female police officers have a bit of an attitude sometimes. Some kind of power trip thing, or that they have something to prove… Although, I'm sure there are plenty of male officers who have that going on too!

  9. Yikes! I'm terrified of the cops in New Orleans,although I guess the Jefferson Parish ones aren't quite so bad.

  10. Wherever HE Leads We'll Go says:

    Oh man! How is the average Joe (or Jane) supposed to know what all those hand signals mean? Sounds like she was having a bad day and decided to take it out on you. I am guessing the other person she signaled at the end of the bridge got away with speeding, while she was chasing you down like America's Most Wanted. I hope you made it to therapy on time.

  11. Nadine Hightower says:

    As A Cop's Wife, I have all sorts of tales. And Can See Those Hand Signals!!
    If you make eye contact with an officer, it's you. Even if they look to pull another over too.

    Roy's The SuperTrooper and has pulled 6 real live outlawbikers at one time. Standing on the road, motioning them over with those exact hand signls, as they came by 2 at a time.
    Once using his car and hand signals, he pulled over 9cars at one time. You know how some groups travel together? It was one of those things.

    Hardass as they may be, Powertrip or not, they have a job to do.
    If the officer doesn't show up the ticket should be dismissed. Standard Operating Procedure.

    Good Luck.

  12. What is it about Feldenkrais appointments and tickets? I also got pulled over last year on my way to our appointment, I had my mind on other things that weren't the speedometer. Now I have to do traffic school blah!! That's all I needed in my busy schedule. I feel your pain.

  13. I must not laugh, I must. not…laugh. but on a not-funny note, I mean really? You're driving. You don't have time to stare at and then decipher hand gestures. And you pulled over once you realized that's what she wanted. Gosh. I've had the same thing happen to me. Thank you for speaking up for the little people. The man's always trying to keep us down.

  14. Small Town Girl says:

    Everyone has their moments. I probably would have been crying rather than mad!

  15. Oh. My. Gosh.

    I would have been in tears. And wet pants.