I read this thing online one time, I think it was somebody’s Facebook status, it wasn’t a real status, it was a meme, some picture with text written on top of it, like who knows who came up with it, whoever “liked” or “shared” it on their timeline, it showed up on my newsfeed. It was a picture of a cop, and it said, “If you’re speeding and you see a cop hiding on the side of the road, and it’s too late to slow down, try waving at the officer. He’s more likely not to pull you over.”
So sure enough, I’m driving, months later, not thinking about cops at all, not about cops, not even about driving really, which is dangerous, because my mind wanders when it should be alert, my mind wanders and my foot gets tired and the next thing I know, yup, I’m speeding. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s a cop, a New York State Trooper, hiding out in this little clearing in between trees. He’s got his cop sunglasses on, his giant highway cop hat.
I let off the gas because I don’t want to just do a ridiculous slamming of the brakes. Let’s see if I can’t make this look natural. But I’m going like twenty, twenty-five miles over the speed limit, and as I pass him, yeah I’m not giving it any more gas, but I’m still flying, and I look to my left and this trooper, he’s looking right at me, directly at me, like turning his head as I pass and we make eye contact, he maintains eye contact, and he’s got the radar gun out, and that’s following me too, and I look back to my speedometer, and maybe it’s thirty miles over the speed limit.
So I remember that Facebook thing and I act, quickly, I go to wave to him, but I don’t have the time really to think it through, like what kind of a wave am I going to give him? I’m not going to be like, “Hi! Hello!” all overly enthusiastic. But I don’t want it to be, “Yo. Sup,” either. I shoot for the middle and I wind up doing this weird almost half-salute two-fingered wave. Immediately as I’m doing it I’m thinking, Jesus, what the hell kind of a wave is this?
And the cop must have been thinking the same thing because as soon as I pass, he tears right out of his hiding spot and hits his lights. Getting pulled over is the worst. Sometimes they’ll ride behind you for a little bit, they’ll make you sweat, following you, tailing you for miles, lulling you almost into a false sense of security, like, don’t worry buddy, I’m not going to hit the lights. I’m just going to follow really closely, very, very closely, right on your ass and, guess what? I actually am going to hit the lights. Pull over.
But like I said, this is an immediate hitting of the lights, and so I just know I’m in for it. I’m in the left lane, so I think, do I have to get over to the right lane, pull over to the right shoulder? I put on my right turn signal and wait to change lanes. The cop gets even closer and his car makes a loud siren noise. So I figure, OK, left shoulder it is. I flip on the left turn signal, but the cop does the same thing. So I just slow down, like, OK, I’ll stop right here, but he gets on his loudspeaker and starts saying something at me, but you know how those speakers are, I can’t understand a thing, and I’m still going like fifty.
So I just pull into the left shoulder and stop. The trooper gets out and comes to my window. Every time this happens I always think about how on TV, in the movies, the driver says, line-for-line, “What seems to be the problem officer?” I always consider saying it, but how many people actually say that to a cop in real life? Does it happen like way too much? Maybe it’s a cop’s pet peeve, pulling somebody over, somebody who knows they were speeding, and they roll down the window and they’re like, “Huh? Problem?”
So I don’t say anything. And he just looks at me for a minute and then finally he’s like, “You want to play games? Are you fucking high?” and I’m like, shit, thanks a lot Facebook, and so I try to tell him, “No, officer, sorry it’s just that, I read this thing on Facebook about waving to a cop as you pass by. I’m sorry.”
And he just goes, “License and registration,” so I take out my wallet, I take out my license, I also take out this PBA card, like if you know a cop in real life, they give you this card to show to other cops, maybe they’ll be a little more sympathetic. He sees me go for the PBA card in my wallet, he reaches into the car, takes it, throws it into the woods, far, like he was one of those trick card thrower that you see on TV, like that card’s gone, and he repeats, “License. And. Registration.”
And he gave me a big ticket. Fucking Facebook.