Monday, February 28, 2011

What I thought happened when we were pulled over by the police...

As some of you already know, I am a registered patient under Michigan's Medical Marijuana Act, owing to the fact that I have chronic pain caused by Fibromyalgia. I'm totally legit here, so I wasn't doing anything illegal. But on Saturday, I was well-medicated as Bronwyn Green, Jilly-O and I made our way to our friend Emily's baby shower.

Things started off well, though we were somewhat delayed leaving my house as I thought it was imperative that google for information on Bruce Willis's penis size. When the search turned up surprisingly little, we got in the car.

Now, since I live in a teensy rural town, and the shower was in another, slightly larger rural town and both were separated by a maze of country roads, Bronwyn needed my help to navigate. Which was why I got shotgun. In reality, they should have just thrown me in the backseat and let me sleep. But then we never would have had the experience we had.

Rather than tell you what actually happened, I'll just tell you what happened from my perspective.

One one of those little rural back roads, Bronwyn was going much faster than she should have been going. Like, fifteen or more miles over the speed limit. She was telling us a story about something that terror has now erased from my fractured short-term memory, when she suddenly said, "Aaaand I'm being pulled over. Okay."

My heart started to pound. Even though I was legally within my right to be, for all intents and purposes, stoned out of my gord, I looked at my red eyes in the visor mirror and knew I was going to jail. Legally, I'm allowed to carry up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. I had none. But I was going to go to jail. This was happening.

"Jill, hand me my purse," Bronwyn said, reaching over the seat.
"No!" I exclaimed, gripping the door handle and bracing myself as if for impact. "If you do that, he'll think you're hiding weed or you have a gun! You don't want the police to think you have a gun! If I was the police, and I saw you reach back there, I would think you had a gun!"

I don't know why I always think that the cops are going to shoot me. I'm a thirty-something white female who doesn't have visible meth sores. The cops and me should be fine. But when I meet a cop, whether it's socially or I'm being pulled over, I always say, "I don't have a gun!" In the latter situation, that brutal honesty is always met with, "Step out of the car, ma'am."

"I don't want this to be one of those times when they tell you to get out of the car, Jen," Bronwyn warned me. "Just don't say anything."

The cop came to the window and asked the usual questions. Why were you speeding, where are you going in such a hurry, etc. To which Bronwyn actually said, "I'm trying to get to a baby shower." Then, the cop asked her, "Where is the baby shower." I desperately bit my tongue to keep from snapping, "Why, are you gonna crash it?" In my head, all I hear is a litany of I never should have taken shotgun. I should have let Jill sit up here. I have too much access to this police officer. Today is the day I go to jail.

"Where is it, Jen?" Bronwyn asks, actually prompting me to speak in the presence of the law man. I mumbled something like, "Across from Perrigo," and after the officer had taken her information and gone back to his car, I shrieked, "Why did you tell him about the baby shower? You never TELL THEM YOU WERE INTENTIONALLY SPEEDING!"

Bronwyn, being the driver of the car and the person who was actually in some danger of legal reprecussions, bemoaned her luck and expressed her anxiety over the situation, to which Jill asked, "What, have you got priors?"

I laughed with them, but inside I was certain I was going to go to jail. For those of you who have never experienced the joys of my admittedly questionable pharmeceutical past, let me explain what it is like to be as high as I was. The moment I speculated on the outcome of this traffic stop, in my mind it had already happened. Let me stress again that I was doing absolutely nothing illegal, a fact that my rational mind should have taken comfort in. My rational mind had checked out for the evening. I looked out the passenger window. Beside us, the Plainwell airfield lay peacefully blanketed in new fallen snow. Somehow, and I didn't know exactly how, that airfield was my salvation.

I was going to make a run for it.

I unbuckled my seatbelt and sprang from the car in one smooth motion, rolling down the embankment like a motherfucking secret agent. I sprinted to the six-foot tall chain link fence and I climbed over that, the shouts of the policeman echoing over the sounds of traffic. I thought about those cars passing, and the people inside, who would go home to tell their families the fantastic story of the hero vigilante who stood up for the rights of the common man. The tale of my capture (for I would almost certainly be caught, either on this fateful day or one in the future, because folk antiheroes walk a fine line between bravery and recklessness) would echo in the hearts of the just forever.

At this point, to my mind, I no longer looked like this:

But like this:

But then, as I ran with a cheetah's speed and a gazelle's grace across that open field, something happened. We were pulling away from the shoulder. I had never actually gotten out of the car. And Bronwyn didn't get a ticket (which is the true miracle of this story). I settled back into my seat, adrenaline releasing its hold on my clenched muscles. I related my tale of heroics to Bronwyn and Jill. "I was running," I told them, my gaze drifting over the passing (now at the correct speed) landscape. "I was just... running."

If you'd like to read what really happened when we were pulled over, visit Bronwyn's blog for the whole scoop.

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