What’s in Your Rearview Mirror?
On that beautiful, sunny afternoon, I glanced in my rear view mirror. "Well, go around me," I said. "There is nobody coming." But the cop just stayed on my tail. Rod Stewart was singing, "Do ya think I'm sexy?" "No. I do not think you are sexy. Never have. Never will." I check my mirror again. You know how you don't like to make eye contact with the police, as they pass you on the highway or when they are sitting kitty corner from you at a four way stop sign? Well, I was trying not to make eye contact with this one. The one with the flashing red and blue lights. The one who was hooked to my back bumper. He seemed to be staring at me. "You don't suppose he wants you to pull over, do you, Millie?" said a voice in my head. "No." I snapped. "I haven't done anything wrong. I mean, not unless you count that guy on the motorcycle, that I almost killed last week." The persistent cop was really beginning to irritate me and I already had heart burn. My heartburn started with my pregnancy, at twenty three, which, I was five months into. I woke up on a Sunday morning, with what I considered, an unjustified hangover. I'd only had a few beers at a card party, the night before. But, I ended up nauseous and on the couch. I felt even worse on Monday. That's when my mother suggested that possibly, I was with child. After my shift on Tuesday, I took an emptied cottage cheese container, filled with pee, to my doctor. Sure enough, I was going to be a mother. And sure enough, you don't need that big of a sample. The doctor said he could have run many, many, tests with all the urine I'd provided. But the very first one proved to be positive. A month later, my mom told me at lunch, over a Cobb Salad, with fumes coming out of it that had me reeling and spinning, that my heart burn would eventually go away. She was wrong about that. She also told me that it meant that my baby would have a full head of hair. She was right about that. But, at the time, I was worried that I was carrying a very, hairy, baboon. My feet were heavy as hell and they ached to high heaven. I couldn't wait to kick off those white, work, clompers, along with my rayon uniform and slip into a pair of cotton maternity shorts and flip flops. I'd been waitressing since early that morning. Carrying hamburgers, fries and cherry cokes, along with an extra twelve pounds, had me downright exhausted. The last thing I needed at that moment, was Rod Stewart, singing about being sexy or a cop on my ass. And I had them both. "Doesn't that moron even know how to work his siren?" I said. And then, he hit the siren. "Well, hallelujah. He is finally going to take off and go catch a bad guy." No. He was still hanging around. Right behind me. "Oh, my God," I thought as I put on my blinker. "I am innocent. There was a bee on my arm. I freaked and for like, just one second, I looked away from the road. And then that guy drove off the road. I turned around, to go back and apologize to him. But he looked super pissed. That is why I kept 0n going." I pulled my car over and waited nervously as a middle aged man in blue, with a gun and a badge, got out of his car and approached me. "Young lady," he says, standing at my window, with the bright sun bouncing off his belt buckle and blinding me. "Why did you not pull over?" "I did." I said. "I mean, what took you so long?" he said. "You didn't turn your siren on." "What the?" "You didn't turn your siren on," I repeated. "We don't use our sirens unless we have to. I was about to call in back up and I was preparing for a high speed chase." "Was I speeding?" "No." "Well," I said. "I have never been pulled over before. And on T.V. they always turn on their sirens." "And on T.V. they are always chasing a car." "Oh." I wondered if women gave birth in their jail cells or if they were sent to a special prison doctor or, what did they do? Certainly I could not have been the first female, criminal, in this predicament. And it was stupid. I shouldn't even have been there. I should have just listened to my gut that day and gone back to the scene and let the man that I almost killed, let me have it. "Can I see your driver's license, please?" I handed it out the window. "Where are you headed?" "Home." "Really? That's interesting, because you are going the wrong way." "What are you talking about?" "The address on your license is not in this direction." "Oh. Well, I have probably moved three times since I got that license. I even lived in Montana for a couple of years." "I see. When you move, you need to change the address on your driver's license. Every time." "Really?" He just stared at me. "Your plates are expired." "What?" I said. "Mine?" "You do not have an up to date sticker on your license plate." "I don't?" "No." "Well, I never got anything about that in the mail. Don't you guys send something in the mail?" "We do not. The Department of Motor Vehicles does. But, it is your responsibility to keep up with your license plate renewal, whether you get a notice in the mail or not." "You know what?" I said. "I bet they sent it to one of my old addresses." "I bet they did. I'm going to go back to my car and run this through. Do not go anywhere. I will be back in a few minutes." "Wow. He seems grumpy," I thought. "But, I don't think he knows yet that I almost killed that guy. I wonder if it will be in my file." I waited for my sentence and I felt the ever present acid erupting and moving up my throat, as The Charlie Daniels Band, sang, "The devil went down to Georgia." And then he returned. "Okay," he says. "Since this is the first time you have ever been pulled over and you have a clean record, I am going to let you off with a warning. You have ten days to renew your plates and to change the address on your driver's license. Do you understand?" "Yes." I said. "Okay," he said. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you." "You are welcome." "Oh, shit. Wait a minute. Now I don't know what I should do." "What do you mean?" "Well, you see, we are moving in three weeks. My husband and I are buying a little house. It needs a real lot of work. The floors slant in every direction. The carpet is wild. The walls are pink and there is a hole in the bathroom floor. But, we figure we can fix it up, a little bit at a time. Of course the first thing we are going to do is fix up a room for the baby." He was staring at me again. "So," I continued. "do I have to change the address on my license now and then change it again after we move? And is this going to cost a lot? Because we do not have a lot of money." He rubbed his face. "How about you just renew your plates now and then change the address on your license after you get all settled in?" "Okay." He handed me back my license and said, "Have a good rest of your day." Do you know what is even more nerve racking than making eye contact with a police when he is passing you on a highway or sitting kitty corner from you at a four way stop sign? Having to pull back out into traffic, while a cop is sitting in a car, right behind you. Police can be so judgmental. Are you using your blinker? Are your mirrors adjusted correctly? Are your hands at ten and two? At least this was way before they started shooting everybody left and right. I wasn't sure what the proper etiquette was. Was I supposed to go first? Or was I supposed to wait and let him go first? He was kind of blocking my rearview vision and there were lots of cars coming. I turned on my blinker and I waited and I waited and I waited. "Oh God. Here he comes again." "What seems to be your problem now?" he says, standing at my window. "Um, are you going to move pretty soon?" I said.