Pull Over

When it’s 2:30 in the morn­ing and there are no oth­er cars on the road, I try to time my speed with the red lights so that I nev­er have to come to a com­plete stop. On approach­ing an inter­sec­tion less than a kilo­me­ter from home yes­ter­day, I suc­cess­ful­ly did so, and start­ed accel­er­at­ing again when the light turned green.

Then I noticed a police car dri­ving in the oppo­site direc­tion do a U‑turn and start tail­ing me. In my head, I’m hop­ing he pulls me over. I’m in no rush to be any­where, I’ve done absolute­ly noth­ing wrong, and I want some jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for every time I’ve dri­ven fum­bled for my wal­let in the dark before dri­ving her home in my paja­mas, on the off-chance that this may hap­pen. Besides, I’d nev­er been pulled over before, I want to know what to expect.

After a moment, his lights go on.

Why were you dri­ving so slow­ly?”

Cause it was a red light.”

I had a green on my side. Did you know the tags on your plate are expired?”

Excuse me? I just got this car in April.”

Do you have your papers?”

I pull out the three pieces from my wal­let and hand them to him. He walks back to his car. Another cop pulls up on the oppo­site side of the road. I hear them yelling at each oth­er from their inter­cep­tors.

You okay?”

Yeah. Do I have to give a tick­et for expired tags?”

No. You give a warn­ing first time.”

And then you give a tick­et next time?”


Okay, thanks.”

YOU NOOB”, I’m think­ing.

He walks back to my win­dow, and says, “Your tags expired on November 13th.”

Ohhh, my birth­day. I thought it was a year from day of own­er­ship.”

I’m going to give you a warn­ing.” He shows me the cita­tion. At the top, the biggest words are PAYMENT NOTICE. A bill to help the city bal­ance its bud­get. “You see here how it says total payable is $0.00? That means you don’t have to pay any­thing this time.”

Good thing he caught it ear­ly. Otherwise, I could have been dri­ving a year with expired tags, and maybe charged with a lot more.

What do I do with this?”, I ask, hold­ing up the cita­tion.

Instead of telling me to throw it out, inval­i­dat­ing his lit­tle exer­cise, he says, “You can put it on your fridge.”


  1. Canadian cops have been pret­ty cool in my expe­ri­ence. I got pulled over in Winnipeg, the guy gave me a warn­ing for a bro­ken tail­light and gave us tips on the best bars and restau­rants in town. American cops are almost uni­ver­sal­ly jerks, so it was a nice change of pace for me.

    I’m glad you did­n’t get stuck with a big fine.

    • I think that’s a stereo­type of Canadian’s and American’s in gen­er­al. :)

  2. Stick it on your fridge?! They’re real­ly humourous! :D

    • I saw him think about it for a while, then spit that out because he could­n’t come up with any­thing else.

  3. HA! You sure got off easy. In L.A. they’re usu­al­ly total­ly harsh. I even got a tick­et for cross­ing as a pedes­tri­an IN A CROSSWALK, but while the lit­tle hand-up sig­nal was on, and the count­down was going on. I thought as long as it was count­ing down, I had time to cross; appar­ent­ly not, it’s the stu­pid hand thingy you have to go by. Completely a mon­ey-mak­er for the city. I protest­ed it by mail, but have not got­ten mon­ey back; I sus­pect they are thumb­ing their noses at me.

    On the oth­er hand, the oth­er day I was sit­ting pulled over in a red zone at the end of a cor­ner when this BIG macho black dude traf­fic cop on a bike pulled up, peered in my win­dow, saw that I was just putting on make­up (which was why I was pulled over), and said in an accusato­ry and author­i­ta­tive voice: “AH-HAA!!.” And then he rode away laugh­ing. I smiled for a while on that.

    • Hey, if I don’t have to pay any­thing, then that’s fine by me. There are not many sig­nal count­downs in this city, so maybe they go by the flash­ing. I think that cops who tick­et peo­ple for jay­walk­ing are just try­ing to meet tick­et quo­tas, or have been fac­ing bor­ing shifts.

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