Tuesday, September 09, 2008

In which The Megastore is interpellated by an agent of the state.

Somewhere in Idaho. The Camry of Power pulls to the shoulder of the road because it is being hailed by the flashing lights of The Law.

HTMS: [fumbles in glove compartment for registration and insurance card. She knows what's coming, all right.]
Agent of the State: Good afternoon, ma'am.
HTMS: Hello, sir.
AotS: I clocked you going at 83 miles per hour as you exited a construction zone, and the speed limit was 65. Any reason you were going that fast?
HTMS: [she is shocked! shocked!] I think I completely missed that it was a construction zone. [Improbable, yet quite true.]
AotS: Well, the speed limit here is 75, so you were still going pretty fast. [pause, so that this truth can sink deep into the sinner's soul.] Can I take a look at your driver's license?
HTMS: Sure. [humbled.] Here it is.
AotS: And your registration and proof of insurance.
HTMS: Here's my . . . registration [so freaking many documents!] and . . . here's my insurance card.
AotS: [inspects documents. Carefully. The speeder might be a dangerous felon fleeing from a crime, in a Camry.] Where are you coming from today, ma'am?
HTMS: Salt Lake. [internal, heavy sigh.]
AotS: And what's your destination?
HTMS: The Indy 500? [this is a patent untruth. HTMS did not say "The Indy 500." Instead, she reported her actual destination, which is "Heaven on the Snake River," in eastern Idaho.]
AotS: [gives what passes for a smile among Agents of the State.] Okay, ma'am: can you make sure to pay a little more attention . . .
HTMS: [obsequious] Yes, sir.
AotS: . . . and if you set your cruise control at 75, that'll help you stay within the speed limit.
HTMS: [again, obsequious, as if this has never, ever occurred to her, and as if, in fact, she hadn't set her cruise control at 81 when she was hailed by Agent of the State in the first place.] Yes, sir!
AotS: [hands documents back to HTMS] You have a nice day, ma'am.
HTMS: Thank you, sir. You too, sir.

Analysis: Can you believe how many times I said "sir"? I am positive that I said "sir" about a million times. On the other hand, all that sirring produced an outcome of no ticket. A positive outcome, I'm sure you'll agree.

Conclusion: Humble + repentant + unsurly + say "sir" a lot = an encounter with The Law with no ill consequences. Also, as the PanOpticated girl I am, I did not speed for the remainder of the journey. Also, and you may have never thought of this, but if you set your cruise control for the actual speed limit, you probably won't speed! Think about it!


  1. On my way up to Heaven in Eastern Idaho a month or so ago, I had nearly the exact same conversation with The Law and was slapped with a ticket. Just not my day, I suppose.

  2. No no no...I can kiss ass all I physically can, but they always give me a ticket! (that sounds like I get a lot of tickets, which is not true. But I have never gotten out of it!)

    These kind of stories make me happy for the ticket dodger and mad that I will never be one of them.

  3. You might note that, according to your account, he said "ma'am" many times too. Perhaps he was intimidated by your obsequiousness? Perhaps he understood that he had definitely pulled over the wrong person?

    As Gandhi might have said, there is a lot of power in firm politeness.

    Honestly, I've been in this situation before, and if I make eye contact and be myself (surprised, no doubt, because I could never, ever be a speeder!) I get the same pass. It is all about respect, I suppose. He's got a job to do and he doesn't need some cocky asshole fucking it up. Lucky for we people who are, ghasp, "nice," that they occasionally let us go with a warning.

    In any case, I've decided to treat such interactions with representatives of the state as business interactions. They have a job to do, and so do I. There is no reason to get upset.

    Respect is generally what its about. Treat a cop like he's an enemy and your screwed. Treat him like your a friendly customer and it is golden.

    Does any of that make sense?

    You have to pick and choose your battles, in other words.

    We're all "representatives of the state" at times, in other words.

  4. theorris' comment was thought provoking and reassuring. Glad you got off with it!

  5. you are so lucky. I always get the ticket. ok, one time I didn't (and I was speeding, and I didn't have my insurance card, and I'd been living in Illinois for two years, but still had a Utah license). but the only reason they didn't give me a ticket then was because my dad was with me. i know it's the reason. oh, the lawbreaking girl with her sweet old dad. everyone likes him. me, not so much. (and I should say that I am always nice when I get pulled over--maybe too willing to acknowledge that I screwed up)

  6. Yeah, I don't know how you did it... especially in a construction zone! I've never been pulled over, but I've been in the car several times when Cory was, and though he was very polite every time, the only time he didn't get the ticket regardless was when the cop had served his mission in the same area of New Hampshire that Cory was from...

  7. What is this "cruise control" of which you speak? I have heard tell of it, but have not encountered same.
    I only got one ticket in my life (knock on plastic) because of a failure to come to a complete stop. I was in high school and my mom's Honda was jam packed with friends. But. I don't think I could ever get out of a ticket. I'm not nice enough.
    Maybe it was because you're pretty?

  8. I have never once NOT been given a ticket. That's because I always laugh at policemen when they pull me over. I don't mean to either. It just happens.

  9. Nicely done. Oh how interpellation is truly the agent of our agency.

  10. I admire you for many reasons, but one of the chief reasons involves your ability to use "interpellated" in a blog post. There's something very chic about that.

  11. way to get out of a ticket mama!!! but for shame! 83 in 65 mama...haha but it is not your fault that heaven was waiting so far away!! :D



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