I got pulled over on the way home from Tahoe Joe's tonight, driving the Corolla. Shakes' registration had expired in November, unbeknownst to me. I wasn't speeding or drunk or violating the law in any way, so I was probably as relaxed as I've ever been at a traffic stop. The cop looked about my age as well, lessening the intimidation factor even further.
We were eating dinner to celebrate my sister's successful move back home. Both of her roommates moved out at the same time, so she's back with mom and dad, making them almost as proud of her as they are of their 25-year-old undergraduate son. The complication is that mom and dad, giddy or depressed over the last of their children leaving home, converted two of the former bedrooms into "offices". For dad, that meant bookshelves, a desk, and the couch from the family room. For mom, that meant bags full of fabric, egg cartons, handmade greeting cards from preschoolers, books, quilt patterns, and seasonal teddy bears strewn wildly across the floor. In addition, my youngest sister recently began a semester in South America, and all her apartment stuff came to mom and dad's house. There is no space. Kelly had to rent a storage facility for most of her furniture.
A note on the seasonal teddy bears: My mom has teddy bears for every conceivable holiday. For Christmas, there are Santa bears, reindeer bears, mostly wearing red and geen doll clothes. For Valentine's Day, the house is decorated with bears holding or wearing hearts. There are Thanksgiving bears, Easter bears, and even one lone Independence Day bear with a tricornered hat and what looks like a bugle. For the most part, each season also has an accompanying flag, which goes on a pole next to the garage (The flags are bear-free). It is a serious business in the suburbs. Mom got very agitated about a neighbor flying their Valentine's Day flag two weeks ago, thinking it was ridiculously premature. I suggested she respond with a display of civil rights-themed bears in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, complete with a miniature bus. She told me to shut the fuck up.
Over a lovely mushroom appetizer, Kelly told us that her storage space was inaccessible after 9 PM. Not that she was planning to store additional items that evening, but the owner of the facility still gave her a stern warning. "The K-9 unit of the Pleasant Hill, PD, they use the facility at night for training the dogs," which was an obvious lie. No one is training police dogs at 10 PM at Stor-All, not on a school night, and especially not to provide free watchdog services.
While the cop was running the plates, two additional cop cars showed up for backup. The cop grilled me about the car's owner and my intended destination that evening. I asked what the problem was, and he lied that the car hadn't been registered since 2002. "That's a misdemeanor!" he shouted. "I could bring you in right now!" He was right to an extent, if by "bring you in" he meant "write a $20 fix-it ticket". It was an awkward dynamic. Clearly, he knew he couldn't arrest me and wasn't planning to, and I knew it, too. Was he showing off for me with empty threats and hollow intimidation? For the other officers? Maybe he was just sending a message to the whole fraternity of shiftless San Francisco punks like me, who like nothing better than to zoom recklessly down Contra Costa Boulevard at 35 MPH in badass early-80's Toyotas.
Still, I sat silently with my hands on the wheel. From one of the backup vehicles came the frantic barking of a police dog. To think, my traffic stop had delayed the important work of police animals and jeopardized the security of a discount multi-level storage yard. I hung my head in shame as he scratched off the old sticker, and received my returned license with a whispered thanks. Officer Toughkins reiterated his threat about taking me in, then advised me to get home as soon as possible. His final words were, "If I see this car out here again tonight, I'm gonna tow it." Which, you know, he also couldn't do.
Ineffectual police threats: 2
Tickets written: 0
Registration stickers: -1
Lessons learned: 1