Expired Tags, A Frisk, and A Screwdriver

A few days ago, on my way to work, I noticed a police car following close behind me.  Now usually I move over because, it’s been my experience, if you’re not speeding and you have your seat belt on they want you to move over so they can pass through and why would today be any different? I’m all good right?

Wrong!

The police car moves over with me, his car still close behind mine.  I get that sinking feeling, you know the one where you know you’re about to be pulled over and in one last ditch effort I change back to my original lane to see if the move over was coincidental and his lights go on! Crap! I drive a little further to a safe spot where I can pull over, pop the car in park, roll my window down and wait…

“Good morning sir!”  I say as I hear him tap on my car and appear at my window, but slightly behind me.  In the rear view I notice he has tattoos up his right arm, it’s not relevant, but I notice all the same.

“Ma’am did you know your tag is expired?”

“No it isn’t!” I say without thinking.  It can’t be I just bought this car a little over a year ago, we keep everything up to date.

“Its eight months expired!”

I must’ve looked like a deer in head lights as I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about? My hubby takes care of all of that, he wouldn’t let it expire.

“Do you have your registration?”

“Yes! I mean I should… Do you mind if I open the glove box and check?”

He doesn’t mind, so I use pincher fingers to shuffle through the paper in my glove box, but I can’t find it?

“It’s not in here? Do you mind if I check my purse?”

At this point I want to let him know exactly what I’m doing, I’ve seen the news and I don’t want to become a statistic! He’s very nice and doesn’t have a problem with me rummaging through my purse.

I forgot to mention… I had asked to call my husband so he could assist me in finding my non-existent registration and he’s on the car speaker phone while I’m going through all these exercises.

Finally, I ask the officer if I can look in the armrest for my registration?

“Do you have any weapons?”

My mind flashes to the little hammer I have in the armrest.  I have it so I can break a window in the car if I ever need to and it has a few other useful gadgets on it. I feel myself get a little nervous.

” well, I have…” the officer takes a step back and puts his hand to his side.

“… no,no, no it’s a little hammer!” I can’t get the words out fast enough.

“I use it to break windows!”

That’s just great Kirsten, you sound like you’ve just confessed to breaking and entering! My left hand is up and the other is gently opening the arm rest for him to see and I’m relieved he relaxes. Again, I use pincher fingers to take it out and again no registration.

“The thing is ma’am there isn’t a decal on your tag!”

At this point my husband chimes in…

“Yeah the dealer sent the tag without the decal… I was waiting for them to send us the sticker.”

I blurt out “For eight months?”

I’m thinking I just went through all of that and he knew I had no decal, which pretty much means no registration! By now the officer is pretty sure I had no clue I was driving around with an expired tag.

“Are you on your way to work?”

“Yes!”

“Where do you work?”

I tell the officer I work at the local high school and he goes on to tell me he doesn’t like to give teachers tickets and I’m not about to tell him I’m not one and instead thank him kindly.

“Just so you’re aware ma’am, driving around without a decal is a misdemeanor and it’s an arrestable offense!”

Oh my god I’m a felon!

“Really? Don’t tell me that I’ll cry! I honestly didn’t know!”

He tells me he’s giving me the benefit of the doubt, but tells me I need to go to the courthouse to get it taken care of today.  He also tells me if Florida Highway Patrol pulled me over they could arrest me.

“Thank you officer! I will call my work and go right this minute.”

He nods and I’m allowed to leave.  He follows me most of the way to the court house and I make a call to let my work know I’m a felon and I’m gonna be late.  Oh wait… there’s more!

I arrive at the court house and walk in to what looks like an airport with the metal detector and the conveyor, scanny, thingamajig you put your purse on and I briefly think to myself oh how times have changed. I walk up and place my purse and keys on the conveyor and walk through the metal detector.

BEEP

Seriously? I don’t have anything on me. I smile at the guy and walk over to him to get scanned. He runs the wand over me, gets to the front of my pants and it beeps.  I look down and lift my shirt a little. I explain that my pants have a little clasp and a zipper and he says those wouldn’t be strong enough to set it off.

“I can unbutton my pants if you’d like me to, I’m wearing granny panties, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t set it off!”

He’s not really amused,bu he’s satisfied I’m not brandishing any weapons on me.  I go to get my purse and there’s a problem. For gods sake what now?

“I need you to take your keys out of your purse!”

“Okay!”

I take them out and lo and behold they’re just keys!

“Nope that’s not it!”

“What do you see? What are you looking for?”

He asks if I carry any small weapons about 4-5 inches long? I tell him no, but he’s welcome to search my purse. He says for me to look through my purse and I’m like okay, but I told you I don’t have… my hand hits something cold and long in my purse and I think what in the… oh snapdragons! I start to smile…

“Um… I just remembered my daughter was eating a yogurt in the car last night…”

I start pulling the object out of my purse and my mind reverts to the 1990’s movie Robinhood where Allan Rickman, the sheriff, talks about using a spoon to cut out Kevin Costner who plays Robin Hood’s heart “because it’ll hurt more!” But I digress…

“… I put the spoon in my purse meaning to take it inside the house, but forgot. I’m sorry!”

Much to his and my relief he didn’t feel you could do much harm with a spoon.  I mean, I guess he could’ve thought I used the spoon for recreational drugs, but sorry dude all I get is mommy street cred with this spoon!

“Do you carry an aerosol? Pepper spray?”

“No!”

“Can you check?”

Why not? I look and can’t find anything, we talk about what could be and finally realize it’s my inhaler!

“You’re all good!”

Thank god for that! So I walk to the counter and ask the nice lady where I go to get my registration. She politely pounts and says you go out the door, through the courtyard, and into the next building.

Seriously? If there’s another metal detector I’m going to scream and throw an epic tantrum. I lucked out, no scanning devices whatsoever. I don’t know if that’s good for the folks working in that particular building, but again I digress…  I pay my fees and now my tag is good till 2018.

Finally, on my way home I run over a screwdriver that flips up and sticks in the undercarriage of my car by the passenger door! I think it’s in the axle area until a nice man at Meg’s school notices it and offers to pull it out.

   

It was quite a day to say the least, but I’m glad to say I’m no longer a felon and my car is fine! However, I do now have two weapons in my car, three if you count the spoon and I’m keeping that mommy street cred! Till next time…

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