Last Sunday afternoon I made my usual trip to the farmer's market. Driving home, I turned onto the main street that runs through my neighborhood. I stopped when I saw a cop car sitting in the road ahead of me.
If he'd been pulled over to the side of the road, I would have passed him. But he was smack in the middle of the right-hand lane, motor running. So I waited. And waited. When he still didn't move, I inched closer to his car, thinking perhaps he hadn't seen me. No way was I going to illegally pass a cop car on a residential street.
He looked at me in the rearview mirror, took a second look, then put his lights on.
My pulse quickened, but I stayed where I was. My vivid imagination allowed me to suppose that he might be in the middle of a dangerous operation. Maybe an escaped felon was lurking in the condo development across the street! Maybe the cop was trying to protect me!
Suddenly he stuck his arm out the window and tersely motioned for me to pull in front of him.
Oh, great. He wasn't looking for an escaped felon, he was freaking pulling me over.
As I slowly passed him on the left, I saw him shaking his head like I was an idiot. Was I supposed to have known to get in front of his car in the first place? I was mystified.
His lights were still on, so I pulled over on the side of the road and waited, my heart hammering. I thought back to my last ten minutes in the car and knew I hadn't been speeding. Was my inspection overdue? No. Had I changed lanes without signaling? No.
What the hell?
I waited in the bright sunshine and flashing lights for him to approach my car. Curious neighbors turned to look as they drove by. My face was one degree away from bursting into flames.
After another full minute, he pulled up beside me. I rolled my window down.
"Are you okay
Was that sarcasm in his voice? Um, yes. Definite sarcasm there.
"You're just sitting
I stared blankly.
"I motioned for you to go around me
," he sneered.
My voice returned. "You put your lights on! I thought you were pulling me over!"
He snorted, then leaned toward me and shook his head oh-so-slowly and deliberately, as though I weren't capable of interpreting normally-paced nonverbal communication.
Stared at me.
"Well," I said finally. "I'm not just sitting here for the fun of it."
"Well then," he replied. "I guess you can go
So I did.
What, had his wife left him that morning? Had his house burned down? Had his winning lottery ticket sunk to the bottom of the Potomac?
The world may never know.
So tell me-- if a cop car is stopped in front of you and he puts his lights on, is that the universal signal for pass me
? Did I miss that part of driver's ed?
This morning I saw that cop again as I was leaving my neighborhood. I gave him the finger.
(very discreetly and under the dashboard, of course)
Labels: Grrr..., If You Can't Say Something Nice..., Inside My Head