Monday, October 02, 2006
Stopped by the Police
“Have you ever noticed that you’re never pleasantly surprised at a Little Chef?”
Maggie’s laughing at that slightly more than it deserves. Actually, it’s not a bad line.
“Actually, that’s not a bad phrase is it? ‘You’re Never Pleasantly Surprised at a Little Chef!’ Hardly one the advertisers are ever likely to use though. Don’t let me forget that one. Perhaps I could use it on my blog or something.”
I wonder why I’m suddenly slowing down.
Because that policeman’s looking at me and my foot has come off the accelerator automatically.
“That policeman was looking straight at me.”
“What policeman?” says Maggie.
Shit. The police car is pulling out.
“He’s pulled out behind us.”
Am I speeding? No. Was I speeding as I came over the brow of the hill? I don’t think so. Maybe he’s after a different car.
“He’s not overtaking us.”
“Have you done anything wrong?” asks Maggie.
Maybe he’s noticed Meg’s not in a booster seat.
“Meg’s not in a booster seat, and with the new child safety law that’s just come in…”
“But we’re on the waiting list to get one,” protests Maggie.
It’s true. There’s been such a rush on child booster seats that Halfords reckons they can’t supply us for another 2 weeks.
Crap. He’s flashing his blue lights. He must have been waiting until we got to this lay-by on the left. I’d better pull in.
“How fascist is that? Surely they’ve got better things to do with their time than hassle parents who can’t obey the law because market forces in this capitalist society of ours can’t keep up with supply and demand?”
I’ve heard somewhere that it’s better to get out of your car and walk back to meet the policeman if you’re pulled over, as it shows willing.
Unless you’re in America, where it’s seen as a threat and you’re more likely to be shot by trigger-happy cops.
“How can I help you officer?”
Christ. They look younger and younger these days. This one looks like he’s only just out grown his own booster seat.
“Just a routine stop, sir. Have you been in any recent traffic incidents – overtaking, cutting someone up, for example, sir?”
Now I’m not averse to overtaking idiots who insist on doing 35mph on roads where you can do 60mph. And I’ve been involved in more than a few incidents where the said idiot decided to speed up as soon as he realised he was being overtaken, leading me to have to dangerously accelerate and swerve back in to avoid oncoming traffic.
“Probably in the last half an hour, sir”
Why isn’t he out there catching real criminals instead of bothering motorists?
“Not that I’m aware of.”
“Would you mind stepping round to the back of the car and letting me take a few details, sir?”
I haven’t done anything wrong. Maybe I should tell this tool of the fascist state that the oppression of the innocent will only lead to an inevitable uprising and the likes of him will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes!
He’s closed the door! Not only is the child lock on, but the lever you wind the window down with has been removed. I’m trapped!
Calm down, Kim. He’s just asking for your address and making a note of the number plate.
“Someone has reported that you’ve been driving dangerously, possibly swigging a bottle of beer, sir”
What? This is getting ridiculous.
“I am going to request that you breathe into this breathalyser, sir. Do you, have any objections, sir?”
When did I last drink anything? A glass of wine with my dinner 2 days ago. Just as well I’ve never been tempted to put whisky on my muesli.
“No, none at all.”
“You’ll see that this tube was sealed and hasn’t been tampered with, sir”
But what if these things are sterilised in surgical spirit?
“Now sir, if you would just like to blow into this end as though you were inflating a balloon until I say stop.”
What if this B12 deficiency thing I’ve got produces alcoholic enzymes in my breath? What if I…
“Stop there now, sir”
The digital readout says ‘processing’…
Zero! Yes! Who’s the daddy? Maybe I shouldn’t punch the air.
“Well I’m sorry to have bothered you, sir”
“Not at all.”
“I couldn’t smell anything on your breath, sir, but it was reported so I have to follow these things up.”
“I quite understand.”
“Not everyone does, sir. We’re often told we shouldn’t be bothering motorists but be using our time to ‘catch real criminals.’
“Well if there was a dangerous, drunken driver out there, I’d rather you stopped him than have him run me off the road.”
“Exactly sir. I’ll need to undo that door for you from the outside sir.”
What a nice young man. He’s not asked for my driving licence; he’s not gone round my car, inspecting the tax disc and tyre wear; and he’s not demanded I take my vehicle registration documents to the local police station within 7 days.
“Drive safely now, sir”
He’s realised the report was just a malicious call and has been making the whole thing as painless as possible.
“Thank you. You… too…”
Isn’t it good that we live in a country where we can rely on our Boys in Blue to keep us all safe on the roads from drunken maniacs?
“I hate booster seats!”
Meg’s wailing in the back of the car; Maggie has spent the last 10 minutes trying to reassure her that she’s not responsible for her Daddy being taken away by the police; and Rogan appears faintly disappointed I wasn’t arrested, which would have boosted his street cred in the playground enormously.