Monday, February 22, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Overtake A Cop

I was told at Sunday School that “God is everywhere”, and though I stopped believing that at around the same time I stopped believing anything else I was told, I learnt on a short trip to the US South last week where the phrase came from. There’s just no escaping the entity down there. “They’re commandments, not suggestions!” a reproachful sign in Mount Airy, NC, informed us. This was a sign at a petrol station. “Fear of God is the only path to wisdom!” barked an apparently very angry preacher on the radio. GDS ARMY read a number plate on a pick-up truck in Roanoake, Virginia (Great Deity in the Sky?). In a restaurant in Asheville, Tiger Woods appeared on a TV screen, prompting a man at our neighbouring table to remark, “That man’s gotten lost on the way to heaven.” Though looking at some of the women he’s been involved with, you might argue that he’s been there and back already.

Christian morals don’t necessarily mean Christian behaviour. I was idling along the I-40 just before Hickory, NC, cruising in the fast lane on a perfectly clear day, driving in a perfectly safe manner, when I passed a state trooper. Yes, I overtook a cop. Yes, I am that stupid. Though I should add that I was going at about 65.1 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone, and by the time I saw him hidden in the line of traffic, it seemed too obvious to slow down and pull in behind him. So I drove carefully past, moved in ahead of him after indicating, and at that point state trooper Christiansen of F Troop, District 5, North Carolina, excitedly activated his flashing lights and pulled me over. Then he kept me and the family waiting for 25 minutes while he returned to his vehicle to write me out a ticket (I have a long surname).

It wasn’t the $25 fine that bothered me, it was the $130 “court costs” that he slapped on top. Out of state number plates are an easy revenue-raiser, because state trooper Christiansen of F Troop, District 5, North Carolina, knows as well as I do that I’m not going to show up in court on March 19 in Newton District Court, six hours drive away from home, to contest the fact that I was speeding. We all know you shouldn’t get smart with cops, because while you are undoubtedly smarter than them (even idiots like me who overtake them), they have several ways of compensating for their stupidity, most of them involving guns, electronic stun-sticks, handcuffs, lies and cold cells with hard stone floors. So it was probably good that by the time I’d taken in the enormity of the fine, he was striding back to his car, and therefore I didn’t have the opportunity to congratulate him on his fabulous detective work and his incredible, crime-cracking acuity at hunting down a hardened felon like myself, accident-free in almost 30 years of driving but surely about to cause a multiple-car pile-up if not for state trooper Christiansen’s absolutely brilliant intervention.

Or to say to him, “Goodbye state trooper Christiansen, and as we like to say in Germany, Geh ficken, Du doughnutfressendes Arschloch!” (translation: drive safely, and I hope you enjoy your lunch).


AMD said...

Ah, shit luck. Mind, if you ever get to drive in South Africa, you may get to appreciate the merits of law enforcement by doughnut-fressenden Arschlöcher.

Anyway, the song that was playing in my head as I read your account of God's America was Ben Folds' 'All You Can Eat'. Though the song on the speaker also provided a great bluesy atmospheric soundtrack: 'Purple' by Shuggie Otis.

Gorilla Bananas said...

What happens if you move to a different state after you get a ticket? Suppose you stood on the other side of a state line and told a cop to smooch your big white butt?

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

AMD - thanks for the empathy, and I'll be sure to mind my speed should I ever make it to your part of the world. I presume some pre-democracy habits are proving hard to shake off.

Mr Bananas - I already live in a different state, but you can be sure that if I don't pay the fine, or turn up at court, the NC authorities will make sure my home state gets to hear about it. According to a friend of mine who grew up there, NC is particularly scrupulous about it - still bitter about Gettysburg, no doubt.

I did think about making a dash for the state line, like they used to do in The Dukes of Hazzard. I'm not sure I'd have won, given that the next state line was about 100 miles away. And in The Dukes of Hazzard I don't recall the cops ever firing their guns at the fleeing, whooping Duke boys - I doubt I'd have been treated with such lenience.

No Good Boyo said...

Most surprised you didn't get your ass capped, or whatever it is American policemen do with careless drivers.

What's a chap called Christiansen doing south of the Mason-Dixon line, anyway? Shouldn't he be felling things in Minnesota or something? Perhaps he took pity on your obviously Aryan family, and that's why you're not being pegged by hillbillies as we speak.