Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cop back-talk

John looked into his rear view mirror and noticed the flashing lights of a police SUV. He looked at his speedometer, of which he was thus far aloof. It read 55 and he wondered what the speed limit on this road must have been. John was in Eden. He was there for work, stopping by after an appointment in Logan earlier that day. He had been in his car a long time and was a little frustrated already. As the lanky officer in a brown Sheriff's uniform approached his car he thought, "This had better be quick." John was no stranger to speeding tickets. He knew the process and hoped he could move it along, as to get back on his way as quickly as possible.

Officer: Where are you going in such a hurry.
John: Home.
Officer: Where is home?
John: Salt Lake.
Officer: Do you know how fast you were going?
John: Not really.
Officer: License, insurance, and registration please.
John hands over the info.
Officer: You were going 58.
John: Oh.
The officer scans John's info for a moment.
John: What is the speed limit?
Officer: 50.
This made John a little mad. Eight miles an hour? He started to scoff a little at the thought of the Sheriffs first question. Eight miles an hour is considered "such a hurry." John thought for a moment about throwing out the "I'm not really familiar with the area" excuse... though that was true, it had never worked in the past. Or he could say, "the snow is ten feet high on the sides of the road I couldn't see a speed limit sign." which was also true, he thought, but then the conversation may go longer because the officer would take time to explain where it may have been visible. John figured no matter what he said it would only take longer, and he actually was in a hurry.
Officer: This registration is expired do you have the current one.
John: Uh, yeah.
John shuffles through his glove box.
Officer: This is kind of out-of-the-way to get to Salt Lake?
Slightly irritated and not really thinking John says condescendingly:
John: That depends on where you started.
Holding out his registration John realizes that wasn't very nice and hoped the officer would over look it. He didn't.
Officer: Well where did you start?
John: I started here.
Officer: What were you doing here?
John: I had business.
The Officer had squared his body to the window now and had both fists on his hips.
Officer: What kind of business?
John: I'm building a house here in Eden.
Officer: Where? Which neighborhood?
Then it happened.
John: What is the point of this. Can you just write me the ticket so I can move along.
It was clear that the Sheriff hadn't been talked to this way before. His mouth sat open for a moment. John's mind somehow reverted back to the mindset he might have talking to his younger brother, or a girlfriend he was dumping (funny that those would be the same) His brain was telling him to stop talking, but his mouth kept on going.
John: Look, the longer this takes the more of a hurry I am going to be in. I was speeding, that's been established, write me a ticket and I will get out of your hair. (at some point during this monologue John's hand which was outstretched with his current registration, started spinning in a clockwise motion) The longer this takes the faster I am going to have to drive to get where I am going.
I want to stress here, that this wasn't one of those "John wanted to say this but didn't" situations. These are the words that actually came out of his mouth. The officer grabs Johns registration and says:
Officer: Sir, are you admitting to me that you are going to disobey the speed limit as soon as I give you this ticket.
John: I am not admitting (John thought about making the quoting fingers signal here, but started to realize just how bad this all sounded and decided against it) anything, I'm just saying that if I was in a hurry, a delay would put me into more of a hurry. I just want my ticket, and then I want to go.
Sheriff: I'll be back.
The Officer walks back to his car, and John realizes what he had just said. "How stupid was that" he thought, and then "Now I am definitely screwed." The Sheriff sat in his Dodge Durango for about 15 minutes. Which is a really long time even for a ticket. Clearly, the Officer was taking his time to counter John's belligerent exchange. The Sheriff gets out of his car and walks seemingly slower than before. Then he stops mid-trip and looks to the left. He stands for an excruciating 30-45 seconds just looking off at nothing. Then continues towards Johns drivers side window.
Officer: Sir, I am going to cite you for going eight over, I would have cut you a break and only written it for four over, but for your defiant attitude. (John thought "don't do me any favors, dork" but decided it was in his best interests to hold his tongue this time.) I am going to follow you out of the canyon to ensure that you do not exceed the speed limit again on your way home.
John thought he was bluffing, but decided again it was best to say nothing.
John: Okay.

John signed his ticket, and clumsily told the Officer to have a nice day as he walked back to the Durango. John pulled away from the Sheriff and headed home. As promised the officer followed him all the way out of the canyon. John was really worried that if he went over the speed limit even a mile, that this guy would pull him over again and give him another ticket. John got all the way to the 12th street on ramp in Ogden. As he pulled onto the freeway the Sheriff stopped following him. John realized that his hands had been gripping the steering wheel in the perfect 10 and 2 positions to the point that his hands were sweating and his knuckles had lost a bit of color. John concluded frustration only begets more frustration, all of that trouble for a measly 8 miles an hour.

Johnny Metropolis


Maria said...

One day I want to meet an officer that I actually respect and view as someone other than a total A- hole.

This has been my worst:

Officer: "I'm giving you this ticket because you broke the law"

Maria: " NO- you are giving me this ticket because you have nothing better to do."

Yeah- it was years before my record recovered from that one.

Sorry man- I would have done the exact same thing.

Anonymous said...

I love that you were so defiant (and must say that I'm in a little bit of awe of you at the moment), but pumpkin what were you thinking?? Everyone wants to be rude to a cop, but in reality it's better to kiss booty to lessen the fine. I know..it's a harsh cruel reality.

Anonymous said...

Why don't y'all try gettin' all smart assey while yer in the fetal position in yer closet on the phone with dispatch, crying like little monkey babies about the "intruder" y'all got scrapin' through yer house?

Quela said...

I would have gone with the "I'm not familiar with the area" bit. just fyi.
P.S. you totally just called matt and i ugly with your last comment. Thanks

Hilda said...

I would've gone with the "I'm not familiar with the area" excuse, but who am I to say...I've cried in front of a cop and he still gave me a ticket. Jerks!

Cheryl said...

John, all I have to say is:
That was worth reading.

Thanks for the smile.
Sorry for the ticket.

Amber said...

There has only been one officer that I have been able to reason with. I was probably going 50-55 around a corner a Jordan Parkway by my parents house. I was in my jeep, top down, on a summer's night. Officer pulled me over and said, "do you realize you were going 15 over the speed limit?" I responded, "That is really hard for me to believe! I just am not that good of a driver, I think I would have turned my jeep for sure!" He let me off with a warning. I will forever remember him as the coolest police officer ever! he looked like the guy from Hawaii 50!

Rhett said...

Who was the sheriff?