Last night, I agreed to babysit for my sister's small zoo. That part of the evening was smooth sailing...I know it's hard to believe. The kids were ready for a movie to be popped in even sooner than I thought they would be, and almost all of them fell asleep on their own, except for the two night crawlers and the littlest zoo animal. She had to be held and rocked to sleep, and when I stopped rocking, thinking she had fallen asleep, she sort of lunged her body in a way of saying, "I'm not asleep yet. Keep going!"
We watched Alvin and the Chipmunks, which resulted in some good, choppy, cell phone videos of the two littlest zoo animals bustin' their moves. Then we watched Madagascar 2, but it was quiet time for that movie. I know that was just killing little Boog. The music speaks to her soul, and she just has to shake her groove thing. She had to sit quietly, though, and for the most part, she did OK.
See? That part of the night was just fine...nice even.
My sister got home just about when I had asked her to. I did have to work in the morning, and I am already a bear in the mornings. We left without a hitch, besides the grinding metal against metal of the brakes. We were already planning on getting new ones today.
As we're driving along about a block from my sister's house, we pass a state cop car. We knew it was a cop because of the slow way he was driving by us, scoping us out. As if by instinct, we both checked the mirrors to see if he was turning around. (In the past year, I was pulled over multiple times in my own car for not having a front license plate on the car. Talk about not wanting to do what you are told!) Of course, he was turning around, and of course, we didn't even have our seat belts on yet. We weren't even a block away from my sister's house, and I know we should do it when we get in the car. We didn't, though.
We both scramble to get those on before he pulls us over. Thank God, by the way, because that would have been another $95.00 each. At this point, I have a massive, throbbing headache, which I assume is from allergies. It is about 12:25 am, and I am completely exhausted. In my young age, I am usually in bed by 10:30 pm. I get my license and insurance out, roll down the window, and he is there with his giant flashlight that I try desperately not to look at, for fear of my head actually exploding right there on the spot.
He takes my license and examines it momentarily before asking me how old I am. I had apparently lost all brain function at this point. I hate being scrutinized, and the power that a policeman holds scares me immensely. I'm not sure why, but policemen really scare me. I don't like how one man driving a labeled car can make me feel so belittled just by pulling me over. I have never been "harassed" by a policeman. I have never been arrested, and I have never even had a ticket. For some reason, though, they still make me nervous and sick to my stomach. I guess I just hate how much power they have. It's their story against yours, so you better just sit back and shut up.
I stutter out that I am 20 years old, but my initial reaction was to tell him that I was 16. See how they make me feel? Like a child all over again. Anyway, he then proceeds to ask Big T how old he is. He says he is 23 with no obvious lack of brain function. He is then asked to give over his license as well.
The policeman told us he pulled us over because our license plate light was out. The only problem with this story is that he wouldn't have known that because he was driving at us when he decided to pull us over. So in fact, he pulled us over for no reason at all, but lucky for him, he found a reason before he got to our window. How convenient, right? He also told us we wouldn't be getting a "citation" for not having that light. So, my heartbeat settles a little, and I feel calm, almost.
After about 15 minutes, and another policeman coming and going, he finally comes back to ask me what my correct address was. Another five minutes after that, he comes back with a ticket, and I am feeling sick at this point. He tells us our sticker is expired, by about three months, and he is writing me a ticket for it. He tells me he saw that the truck was registered to Big T, but since I was operating the vehicle, it was my responsibility. He then tells me that we can fix this in one of three ways.
1. He can take my license as bond for the ticket.
2. He can take $75 cash from us to pay for the cost of the ticket.
3. We can show him a AAA card, or something like that, and we can give him that as bond.
Well, I don't have a AAA card, and even with my babysitting money, I only had $70. I was kicking myself at that point for telling my sister $20 was fine when she tried to give me $29. It all could have been so easily fixed. Then it dawned on me that he was going to have to take my license, and I started bawling.
I have never had a ticket for anything. I have never gotten in trouble. I was always a good kid and a smart driver. I have always kept my car insured, and he is threatening to take away my license?! I told him that, too. I told him, in the middle of my tears, I had never had a ticket for anything.
He decided to give me my license back but told us we couldn't drive the car until it was taken care of.
I cried the rest of the way home. I cried because I have a ticket on my record now. I cried because he wasn't understanding at all. I cried because I have to use my money to pay for all of this. I cried because we don't have the money to pay for all this. I cried because Big T isn't going to have a job for a week this month, and then 2-4 weeks next month. I cried because we already had to get brakes and wipers this weekend with money we didn't have, as well as groceries. I cried because I wanted to use my babysitting money to go to a garage sale and see if I could find a bike or some more knitting stuff. I cried because my head was absolutely throbbing. I cried because I was so tired, and it would be 1:30 am before I could even get to bed, and probably 2:00 am by the time I got myself calmed down enough to go to sleep. I cried because I had to get up in the morning and go to work and call someone to come get me. I cried because I missed my mom. I cried because I am getting married and it is too much stress trying to plan a wedding and reception. I cried because I really want to have the "first dance" with my future husband, and shelling out $200 to $400 dollars this weekend to get a sticker, brakes, pay my fine, get windshield wipers, get a license plate light, and get groceries, and get cat food for my sensitive stomached cat, makes that feel impossible. I cried because it wasn't fair for him to mess up my weekend plans. I cried because it wasn't my truck, and none of this should have fallen on me. I cried because I am not 16 anymore.
I cried...and cried...and cried.
I took some Tylenol and cried some more, and somehow, I fell asleep, just to wake up to this nightmare.