License and Registration, Please

Sat down last night after dinner to flip through the bajillion and one cable channels that usually don’t have anything on worth watching, and I stumbled upon a movie in which Jed Bartlet seemed on the verge of molesting Clarice Starling. There are just some things that I don’t want to watch. Ever.

So I completely forgot to mention that I was pulled over by a cop on Friday night for no friggin’ reason. I had been at a complete stop at a red light for about 10 to 20 seconds, when I saw a car pulling up on my right, in the “right turn only” lane. I noticed, however, that the car had stopped without pulling up even with me. I looked in my right side mirror and saw that it was a police cruiser. It kept inching forward uncertainly, doing the “I’m spatially challenged and have no idea if I can actually fit past this car next to me” two-step. I laughed and probably made some sort of innuendo-heavy joke at the cop’s expense.

A second later, the cruiser jerked into reverse and pulled in behind me.

The light finally turned green and I made my left onto the main road. And right onto the side of the road as the cruiser’s blue and red lights flared up and the cop pointed his spotlight in through Sammy’s rear window.

I’ve been pulled over numerous times in the past. I have a hereditary condition that causes my driving foot to be pulled uncontrollably to the floor, regardless of posted speed limits. I’ve sought physical therapy, which has successfully reduced the impact of this condition on my driving record (and my insurance premiums). However, this was the first time I was ever pulled over simply for the helluvit.

So the cop ambles up to my window and asks me for my license and registration. In a new twist, however, he asks me how long I’ve owned my car. When I tell him, his response is, “That’s funny. Your license plate comes up in my system as belonging to a 2003 Mercury.” And then he walks away.

So we sit there for like 10 minutes before the cop comes back, returns my information and says, “Yeah, your VIN checks out as belonging to this car, but your license plate is coming up as belonging to a Mercedes. I mean Mercury. Your name also isn’t coming up in our system.”

Okay, so you really can’t drop something like this on me and expect me to shrug and go “Okay, occifer.” My actual response was, “Well, that doesn’t sound good. I guess I’ll have to call the DMV in the morning.”

To which to officer quickly responded, “No, that’s not necessary. My system is probably just down right now. You’re fine.”

Anyone else smelling a rotten bacon stink right about now?

First he tells me that my license plate is coming up as belonging to a completely different make and year of car. Then he tells me that the VIN information is fine, but the license plate is still coming up for a different car…but he can’t seem to keep straight the make of the different car (personally, I confuse Mercedes and Mercury all the time). And that my name isn’t even coming up in the system. But he doesn’t seem to think there’s anything to worry about in any of what he’s saying. And he gets jumpy when I state that I’m going to call the DMV to clear everything up with them.

Plus, there’s the tiny little matter of me not really understanding why I was pulled over in the first place.

I wish I hadn’t been suffering from an extreme case of “Politeness to Those Who Can Arrest You” syndrome. I really would have liked to have asked WTF. Part of me feels like I was duped in some way. I mean, I saw the decals on the cruiser and recognized it as a county sheriff’s car. Officer Dolittle was also in a recognizable duty uniform. So what the dilly-yo? Was he just bored and miffed that he couldn’t figure out how to get past me at the stoplight? Was my bumper sticker or my “Jesus fish” spoof that offensive? Was this abuse of power by a rabid fundamentalist?

Ooh, maybe this had something to do with that crazy woman who bumped into me a few weeks back! That might be a possibility…but then I go right back to the fact that I wasn’t doing anything to draw attention to myself in the first place. Dudley Dolittle had no reason to run my license plate in the first place, beyond the fact that he could have seen me gesturing toward his sad attempts at spatial handling and laughing.

If that’s indeed the case, then I’m ever so glad that my tax dollars are helping to pay the salary of someone so petty and small. Thanks for wasting my money and my time, occifer.