Arousing the Attention of Law Enforcement, and Vehicle Customization “Don’ts”

14corolla

I try to avoid interactions with law enforcement.  I think most rational people do.  I’m intimidated easily enough, and I really don’t want to be bothered anyway, so I try to just live my life, quietly obeying the rules and generally blending into the wall.

I learned a disturbing truth a few mornings ago.  I should know better, too, but I wasn’t paying attention.

On my car (the illustrious Corolla S, with the 6 speed manual, which is an awesome ride) you can just leave the lights and fog lights on (which I usually do) and they will turn off when one turns the ignition off.  But for some bizarre reason I turned the lights off.  When you turn the lights off, the DRLs (headlights only) still come on.  Usually that’s not a real issue.

The headlights are HIDs and are insanely bright, so I didn’t notice that the parking lights or tail lights weren’t on, as I went off on my merry way through the cop obstacle course between my house and the Y.  I’ve been known to see as many as six cops between my house and the Y (1.8 miles.)  This is particularly odd, considering I make this trip between 5 and 5:15AM.  I know there are quite a few speed traps in that small stretch, so I plan accordingly and keep at a painfully slow 35MPH to avoid an unplanned and expensive speeding ticket.

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So I was completely shocked when I had a cop light me up.  I know I was only doing 35 or maybe a bit less, so what in the flying thunder could this guy want with me?

I did remember the most important thing from my CCW class- let the officer see your hands, because he knows you carry the minute he runs your plates.

So as I stuck my hands out the window, all I could say was, “My weapon is in the trunk.” Which it was.  I’m not about lying to cops.

He asks for my driver’s license, and then asked me if I knew my tail lights were out.  Then it dawned on me- I looked at the dash and realized for some reason I’d turned off the lights and was just running on DRLs.  Oh. Shit.

So the officer- who thankfully wasn’t being a douche bag about it, even though he would have had the right- ran my license.  Seeing I had no record, or outstanding warrants, or reason to believe I was running a meth lab out of a late model Corolla, let me go once he verified that yes, my lights all work- when they’re turned on.

speeding excuse

At least I didn’t get a speeding ticket.

I have to wonder if I’d been treated differently had I been younger, male, or belonged to a different ethnic group.  I know Steve-o was randomly pulled over several times when he had his Audi.  The demographics didn’t look good- a 20 year old kid driving a late model Audi A4 in impeccable condition, in an area where the average young 20 something is unemployed,  on drugs, and not averse to stealing things.  I think the cops just couldn’t believe that someone of Steve-o’s demographic actually worked and earned money to buy a nice car via legitimate means.  In their defense, considering most of his age cohorts, I understand their incredulity.

 

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So… the place of notoriety for those of Steve-o’s generation is the “Busted” paper- getting your mug shot plastered all over Central Ohio.  The list of names (center) were all the bizarre names I found in just that one issue of the “Busted” paper.  Anyone with the last name “Hunt” should really have their head examined before naming their child “Michael.”  Another one I found funny was the name “Ciera,” as if her first name should be “Cutlass.” And the name “Crystal,” no matter how you spell it, leads me to want to call her “Crystal Meth.”  Note to self: do NOT use the “Busted” paper as a reference source for potential baby names.  Although I’m sure some people do.

The badly painted (likely with a house roller) Cincinnati Bengals tribute Civic is a more typical vehicle for someone of Steve-o’s age to be seen driving.  Either that or this distressed Accord:

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This looks eerily like Steve-o’s first car, a ’92 Accord with about 400K on it.

As soon as he could afford it, he traded it on a ’95 Integra- but he’s had plenty of cars since then.

 

supertroopers

I mean, right MEOW.

Steve-o got to sit in the back of a cruiser (twice) while the cop verified that his temp tag was legit right after he bought the Audi.  Not long after he got his regular plates he got pulled over (again) and the K9 officer who pulled him over thought it appropriate to go through the Audi with the drug dog.  I doubt if they found a cough drop or a gum wrapper, (Steve-o is one of those people who doesn’t eat, smoke or do anything in the car that might leave a mess) but the dog did leave behind some hair and slobber that provoked Steve-o to pay for a $150 detail to remove.  In some ways I’m glad he traded the Audi for a (newer, yes, but less ostentatious) Jetta.   He’s not been pulled over once in the Jetta.  Apparently that’s not as much of a head turner as the Audi.

Do I agree with profiling?  Not necessarily, and I realize that if Steve-o appeared to be anything other than what can only be called “super white” that a simple, “have a seat in the cruiser” could have turned far uglier.  Cops are human too.  I know I profile. I know I hit that door lock switch extra fast in certain parts of town. I’m not saying it’s right to do it, but everyone does.

 

 

I’m Not Normal, You’re Screwed Up, and That Might Be OK

 

screwed upStraight to you from the compost heap.  Steamy!

The self-help subdivision of pseudopsychology offers a rich source of fodder for the cynical mind.  Since my mind is one of the most cynical around, I’ve found self-help (with rare exception) to be more of a source of self-humor than self-help.

True self-improvement is a beautiful thing, but changing one’s character or habits in a meaningful way is neither typical nor easy.  I’ve been saying for years how I want to have washboard abs (yeah, right) or thousands of dollars saved back, but those things don’t happen.  My physical condition is better than it was, which only means that I have both feet out of the coffin instead of only one.  Financially, well, there are people worse off than me and I’ll leave that exactly where it is.  I’m thankful every time I’m able to pay for my scripts and have food in the fridge.

pink coffin feet out

I think the thing that really turned me against the self-help genre was the plethora of vapid works available in the 80s and 90s.  Crap like “Think Yourself Thin” and “Co-Dependent No More” might actually be useful for some people, depending on where they’re coming from.  However, I am not a typical woman.  Appealing to my emotions doesn’t generally do squat for me.  Appealing to my intellect can influence me, if the information given is relevant.  I need a do this=____result.  I don’t do very well with a maybe do this and maybe something might result- or not.

There is a lot to be said for making a conscious choice to behave differently, to achieve specific goals, etc., but that determination only goes so far.  I’m all too aware of how finite and limited my efforts are.

One of the techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy (which, by the way, can be effective if it’s used properly) is to “re-write your script.”  The thought behind this is that if you can convince yourself that you really weren’t the little geek kid who was continually getting beaten up, you’ll be able to respond and function in a healthier way as an adult.  If you can convince yourself that you used to be Billy Bad Ass back in the day, instead of the nerd who got tossed face first in the trash barrel every morning, then you might be able to act like Billy Bad Ass now, instead of always being the town doormat.

As much as I like the concept behind the re-write, it’s a bit intellectually dishonest.   I was never Billy Bad Ass.  The closest I ever came to it was the one time I beat the hell out of my oldest sister, and that was a gut reaction fueled by years of repressed rage.

However, with a little creativity, “re-writing my script” could be hilarious as hell.

I wasn’t a sickly kid born into a poor family who got my ass kicked on a daily basis for the first thirteen years of my life.  Hell no.  I was a freaking princess, complete with a tiara.

snow white yeah rightCheck it out!

I liked to kick ass, so I took martial arts lessons and got my black belt in Karate.

i'm a ninjaHow you like me now?

And when I got older and was mega-cool, I got to hang out with Steve Perry.

me Steve PerryYeah, we were buds back in 1983.

While coming up with such stunning fictional scenarios can be fun, then it raises the question, “What the hell happened?”

Apparently I need to lower my standards.

I wonder if this is creative use of Paint or Photoshop, or if someone really had the balls to spray paint this on a real sign:

speeding excuseSomething in my twisted sense of humor hopes it’s real.