“I’m banking on one thing, and I’m not budging on this: my God has a sense of humor even if what I say has a four-letter word in it. I think He’d want me to laugh. What’s in my heart is not irreverence, but a full knowledge that God’s laughing too.”- Paula Deen (It Ain’t All About The Cookin’)
Two days after I was laid off, I was pulled over for making an illegal U-Turn. To this day I’m still getting adjusted to driving out here; my days of driving in rural Arkansas are over. I didn’t realize I was breaking the law until it was too late; the sign snuck up on me speedily. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” (How comical) was playing on K.BAY 94.5. This cop was about to pull out of Wal-Mart as he saw me. I knew I had made a mistake right when another car almost crashed into me. The cop pulled out, and I pulled into Wal-Mart through the central divide of Hesperian Boulevard. He switched on his siren and at that precise moment I wailed to myself, “Hell’s bells! You’re in deep shit now Arkansas!” I parked in an empty space. An officer wearing a pair of black Aviators slowly approached me. He resembled the T-1000 off of James Cameron’s “Terminator II: Judgment Day”. During this time I’m mumbling serinty prayers to God and gathering my driver’s license, trying not to piss myself.
The officer said, “How are you doing boss?” I hate it when anyone addresses me like that. It’s like asking a one night stand, “Where are you going, baby?” And the fling responds, “I’m not your baby.” I immediately noticed that the officer had CHiP patched and monogrammed on his sleeve. I said the first thing that came to mind, “Sir, you sure don’t look like Eric Estrada on CHiP’s.” He just stood there speechless. He took his Aviators off and stoically asked, “May I see your driver’s license?” I gave it to him. He said, “Arkansas… hmmm…what brings you out here?” I apprehensively responded, “Opportunity, I’m 24 years old and I’m trying to live the American Dream.” He thought that was impressive. I explained to him that I was still learning to drive out here, and didn’t realize I was breaking the law until it was too late. He started getting off by intimidating me.
He asked to see my registration. I was opening my glove box and I stated with a nervous quiver, “Officer, I’ve never been pulled over before in my life. What does that little piece of paper look like? There was an awkward silence and I could feel him searing me with impassioned fear. Frankly, I didn’t appreciate that and I said, “Officer, please stop intimidating me, you’re scaring the hell out of me and I can’t take it! I’m not a thung!” I found my registration and explained to him that the truck was still registered in my dad’s name. He went back to his car to trace my plates. All that time I was hyperventilating. He came back and started questioning me more. I broke down into tears and said, “Officer, I was laid off two days ago unexpectantly, and I’m out here looking for work. I’ve never been in this much deep shit before in my life. And the public of California is teaching me to drive on these highways; it’s not like this at all back in Arkansas.”
He paused, and said, “Look here boss, I’m going to go easy on you. You have a clean record back home. Regularly, I wouldn’t be this generous. Here’s your citation. You must obtain a California driver’s license and register your vehicle in the state. That’s all. Good luck to you.”