Driven: An anecdote (part 2)

May 15, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
May 15, 2015

Earlier, I wrote about starting to drive home from a restaurant in northwestern Raleigh. Having set the stage in that post, I now return to my mildly amusing anecdote!

There’s a relatively desolate stretch on U.S. 70 on the northeastern edge of  Raleigh-Durham International Airport where an array of two-lane overpasses hang over the road. I had a heavy foot on the accelerator as I topped the rise that leads to this section.

And then I lifted my foot from the gas.

There appeared to be a police car parked in the median. I was pretty sure that the speed limit on that part of the road is 55 miles per hour. When I topped the rise, I was going too fast.

I hate braking precipitously when a law enforcement vehicle is around; I feel as though it calls attention to my car. So I tapped on my brakes gently but repeatedly as I approached the officer.

I was going around the speed limit when I cruised past the cop car. But, as I looked in my rear-view mirror, I thought that I spotted the police vehicle pulling onto the road and into the right lane, in which I was traveling.

Well, now, I thought to myself*.

I was approaching the traffic light where 70 meets Brier Creek Parkway, a major intersection. The light was red, and there were a few cars ahead of me, so I glided slowly toward the junction. By the time I got there, the light turned green, but no one ahead of me was moving too fast, so I kept on gliding.

Other cars pulled away, but I didn’t feel comfortable stepping on the gas. I went along at around 45 miles per hour — maybe even less.

Throughout this entire time, my car was trailed by the same pair of headlights.

I didn’t say anything aloud, but K—, my passenger, sensed something was up. (Probably because I was driving so slowly on an essentially deserted road.) He twisted around in his seat and peered at the vehicle behind us.

“I think that’s a bubblegum factory behind us,” he said.

Never before had I heard that slang, but I was pretty sure he was talking about the emergency lights atop the cop car. I grunted assent.

I continued cruising slowly on an mainly empty divided four-lane road, the police officer behind us.

At one point, the officer pulled into the left lane and maintained position in my blind spot. I hate having a car in my blind spot if I can avoid it, so I tapped my brakes.

The other car kept its spot relative to my automobile for a while. Then it pulled back behind me.

A minute or two later, the police vehicle’s blue emergency lights began flashing.

I sighed, slowed down, flipped on my turn signal, surveyed the shoulder for a relatively level spot to pull over and then brought the vehicle to a stop.

“Well, this ought to be fun,” I grumbled aloud.

I told K— to keep his hands in sight. I turned off my headlights, rolled down my window, turned off the car and placed my hands on the steering wheel. I have absolutely no desire to be shot by an officer who thinks I might be reaching for a weapon.

We waited a beat. I started mumbling something about how this was quite a long pause when I thought I saw the officer getting out of his vehicle.

He came up and said good evening. I reciprocated.

The man identified himself as Officer P— of the Raleigh Police Department and asked if everything was OK.

I chuckled nervously and said that it was.

Officer P— said that I’d been driving slowly and he wanted to see if things were all right. I explained that I thought that I’d attracted some police attention and was driving slowly so I didn’t attract even more of it for the wrong reason.

He asked to see my license. I explained that it was in my right pocket (probably due to this scene from the 1992 movie Reservoir Dogs) and pulled out my wallet.

“Where are you guys headed?” the cop asked as I opened my wallet.

“Home,” K— said.

“Where’s my license?” I murmured to myself. Louder, I said: “Uh… Durham.”

I found my license and handed it over.

After a surprisingly short time, Officer P— came back, told me that he wouldn’t be issuing a ticket and wished us a good morning. I thanked him and drove off.

So that was the time I got pulled over for driving too slowly.


Standard disclaimer: Since I wasn’t taking notes or recording the conversations described in this post, all dialogue is guaranteed to be only kind of, sort of accurate. (This disclaimer also applies to my thoughts and internal monologues.) Fortunately for you, the valued reader, this free blog comes with a money-back guarantee! 

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