I am an excellent driver and because of this fact I seldom have difficulties with the highway patrol. I can think of only three instances in my long and distinguished driving career when I have been pulled over and the experience was always the result of a misunderstanding.
Back in ’97, I was driving around Grand Forks with Cindy as one of the first to return to town after the great flood. Cindy was there to work with computer equipment Apple had donated and I was there to take wet carpet out of the basement. We were driving about just to see how bad things were and we were pulled over by an officer. My thought was that there was a concern we were looters. College profs are unable to afford expensive autos. It turned out my vehicle had expired tags. Who goes about town looking for vehicles with expired tags in the aftermath of great flood that forced the evacuation of the entire community? I am guessing he was bored. He did let me off with a warning.
Then, there was that time in South Dakota. I was driving through the nothingness of South Dakota on the Interstate and I came across a construction zone with those orange cones visible for miles into the distance. I tapped my brakes to slow down from my normal driving speed of 65. Out of no where comes this officer with lights blazing. Evidently, I was going 62 in a 55 construction zone and all fines double. I indicated to the officer that I had hit my brakes (as he had seen my brake lights) and there was in fact no actual construction going on nor any other vehicle for as far as the eye could see, He suggested that if I wanted to contest my ticket I could make a court appearance in Pierre. Since that would be about 500 miles out of my way, I decided to pay the ticket. Have a good day.
My final encounter just happened. I was driving carefully in my Minneapolis suburb to get Cindy some sinus medicine at the drug store. As I approached the turn into the parking lot, I saw lights behind me. I courteously signalled I intended to complete my turn and waited for the officer in the parking lot. Where do they get these guys? He seemed high school age and was not wearing his hat. I know you are supposed to wear your hat.
“Are you Mark”, the patrolman asked.
“Yes I am”, I responded bewildered. How could he know my name?
“Our records show you and Cindy do not have Minnesota driver’s licenses” (see previous post – you can see why I found this ironic).
Now, I knew I could have a little fun.
“I have my license in my pocket.”
“Can I see it?”
“Certainly”, I said. “I just took the exam a week or so ago and I was told to show this form (producing form) to explain why my North Dakota license has a clipped corner. ”
I considered I might tell him I missed only one question on the exam and that this question was poorly written. By the way, did he know the difference between the fines when an accident resulting from drunk driving results in moderate as opposed to serious injury? I do. I decided not to show off.
The officer disappears. I guess he had to sit down to read the document I gave him.
He came back, gave me my ND license and document and said “You are good to go. Have a nice day.”
“Sir, I passed my licensing exam more than a week ago, It is funny your computer does not have this information.”
“You should be getting your MN license in a few days.”
So it goes in Minnesota. Have a nice day.