One day on my vacation with my son, on our way to a destination, I got pulled over for speeding. It was a speed trap of sorts, where the limit goes down significantly due to construction, the police kindly sitting just after the limit goes down and picking us all off with radar, one by one. Of course there were signs, but I was somewhat distracted by the GPS, figuring out which exit to take, etcetera. I had no idea I was speeding.
One policeman gestures where I’m supposed to go. As I pull up I switch my sunglasses for my glasses and take out my drivers license, ready to hand it to the officer. The next thing I know, I’m looking up at a very handsome man. In uniform. With a hat that reminds me of New York State Troopers. He’s smiling at me and says “nice watch”.
I’m already somewhat flustered that I’ve gotten a ticket. My son is quite concerned and asking a lot of questions from his spot in the back seat. But then, to have this guy with a great smile and a nice manner…completely throws me off. He asks for my insurance and I tell him it’s a rental. I do thank him for the compliment and ask him what the speed limit was and what I was clocked at. The ticket is the equivalent of $250 dollars. Ouch.
He then, smiling the whole time, proceeds to tell me that I should read information on the back of the ticket and determine whether I want to fight it or even pay it. He says something like “so you can read between the lines about what I’m telling you”.
I’m coherent enough to also be thinking about how damn hot I thought he was. But not together enough to say something flirty. Anyway, I’m not the type to try to flirt my way out of something – the last time I got pulled over for speeding I was 16. Anyway, I was in jeans and a t-shirt with my hair pulled back and my glasses on…I wouldn’t have thought that I exuded “maybe you can fuck me if you don’t give me a ticket”.
So I drove away and simply could not get this cop out of my mind. My son and I enjoyed the afternoon and for a while he was playing in a playground and I sat there, daydreaming. Thinking about being bold and taking chances and how one thing I’m trying to do more is just grab life by the proverbial balls. Put myself out there and see what happens.
I have several missed experiences in my life that I occasionally think about – and wonder what would have happened had I just been bold and did what I wanted to do in the moment. Like the time at age 16 that I didn’t get in the hottub with the hot ski instructor at the ski resort. Not auditioning for the acting part I’d always wanted. Not speaking up at that critical meeting where I had something to say.
I have a tattoo on my wrist of two numbers…one of which reminds me to not squander the decision I made to leave my marriage. I do not want to live a life of regrets…have “if only I had…” as the start of my internal dialogue. So, I’m getting better – the most recent example meeting Matthew (Johnny Id) and taking a chance on something special. But in these fleeting moments, I often stop myself.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a very good reason to have some internal filter or stop-gap against doing truly outrageous things. Right?
The more I thought about it, the more I wished I’d said something to the cop after he’d given me the ticket. I knew it was silly but it got under my skin that I had an opportunity of sorts and didn’t take it. So I hatched a plan which of course I then dismissed and proceeded to flip flop for the rest of the afternoon.
When we got back to the hotel, I was exhausted and had a nap whilst my son watched a TV show. When I woke up, he wanted to watch a movie and have a chill evening in the hotel room and the hotel swimming pool. I was completely fine with that – it gave me the opportunity to do some writing.
Sitting at the desk in the room, I stared at the ticket. Thought about my plan. Then decided to act. I only live once.
I looked up the non-emergency number for the police force and called it. I asked “is it possible to leave a message for a specific police officer if I know his badge number?” Of course it was. They gave me the number and instructions.
I called it. There was no name or anything on the voicemail. I hung up. Stared at the phone again and thought – oh fuck it, what do I have to lose.
Here is the exact message I left:
“Hi. My name is Ann. I’m the blonde with the nice watch you pulled over for speeding today. I just wanted to say thank you for being so nice – my son was completely freaked out and I really appreciated it.
I also wanted to tell you that I was completely flustered and distracted by how handsome you are. It’s ironic that the highlight of my day was getting a speeding ticket.
I’m sorry if that’s too bold – but at the very least I hope this message puts a smile on your face. My mobile is xxx.xxx.xxxx if you want to get in touch.”
I figured I wouldn’t hear from him. He could have been married, thought I was crazy, had no idea who I was. There were many reasons why. But I was pleased that I’d done it. I wouldn’t regret it.
So imagine my surprise when I woke up the next morning, to find I had the following text message – sent at 5:58am…I guess cops start work early.
Hey Ann, it’s Brian. I just started work and got your very nice message. That was a big surprise. No one has ever thanked me for a ticket before.
So I replied: Nice to meet you, Brian. Well…the ticket wasn’t really the good part 🙂
And he responded quickly: Nice to meet you Ann! I would say us meeting was 🙂