It’s a typical Thanksgiving weekend Saturday night. Sore and tired from 6 games of volleyball and a 9 mile hike, I decide to take it fairly easy. I throw on my comfiest sweats, pull on my UGGs (I know, mylifeissonotironic - but they’re SO warm and cozy…), layer my wool coat over-top and prepare for a night of blissful laziness. I’m taking my sister’s puppy, Jack, to have a playdate with iprefermyironyinotherpeople's sister's puppy, Royce. After a successful session that is mostly filled with Jack avoiding Royce's advances from behind, I leave to return Jack to his mother at her boyfriend's house in Isla Vista.
As I drive through Isla Vista, I am careful to make a full stop, complete with roll-back, at every red octagonal sign. The exact thought that goes through my head is that police like to troll around IV because college kids are easy targets for traffic violations.
Interesting. Go ahead and file that away for a couple mini paragraphs.
At my sister’s boyfriend’s house, she asks if I want to stay and have a glass of wine. Normally, this isn’t something I need to roll around in my head for a minute. Call me a lush, but hand me a drink first. On this particular evening, however, I am so tired and full of holiday feasts that I almost decline the offer. Almost.
One glass and a few conversations later, I am back on the road.
I notice a car following me. I notice this because I am absolutely terrified of almost everything. I had actually made my sister walk me out to my car while I checked the backseat and underneath the vehicle to make sure no one was hiding there, waiting to kill me. This car is hanging back a bit, but is definitely following my chosen path. Now, when I say chosen, it wasn’t necessarily I who chose this path. I’m more sort of following the road in front of me, as I am near-sighted and can’t figure out what street I’m on or where the freeway is. Because of this, I slow down at every intersection and speed up in between, apparently giving the illusion that I am under the influence. When I discover that I am at Fairview and need to turn left to get on the freeway, I put on my blinker… only to have the car that has been following me at a distance speed up. Fine, A-hole, I’m getting over into the turning lane anyway. Chill out. As I maneuver into the turning lane, A-hole follows me right on my tail. Really dude? Really? Why are you such a creeper. Get over it. I begin to turn. Red, white and blue appears in my rear-view mirror.
Sh*t. My stomach drops. I go from completely pissed and sort of creeped out to totally nervous and shaking.
I pull into the lot, as instructed by the sheriff car, and look out my window in horror at the discovery of a female cop walking towards me. This is not my target demographic.
Sheriff: “Do you have your driver’s license with you?” I hand it to her. “Have you ever been arrested or are you out on parole?” I shake my head no. My eyes are huge. My face is ashen. “Is there a reason you were trying to cause an accident back there?”
Ok. Wow. First of all, I was not trying to cause an accident. I was trying to switch lanes. You were being a d*ck and pulling right up on my a$$. Breathe. Then speak.
Me: “I’m so sorry. I really didn’t mean to. I was just trying to figure out what street I was on because I couldn’t remember how to get to the freeway and I couldn’t figure out which street connected to the freeway and then I saw I was at Fairview and I remembered Fairview hits the 101.”
I tend to ramble when I’m nervous.
Sheriff: “Where are you from?”
Me: “Well I’m from here - I went to high school here, but then I was living in LA and then I was just living in New York for a couple years, but I just moved back and am moving into LA but I’m at my parent’s house here right now. I’m so sorry, I just had my sister’s puppy and was dropping it off at her place and couldn’t remember the quickest way to get back.”
Yup. Still rambling.
Sheriff: "You have a dog in there too?"
No, A-hole, I do not have a dog in here. You already shone your flashlight all over the entire interior of my car; I’m pretty sure you are well aware there is no canine drooling on my leather seats.
Me: “No, he’s not with me, I just dropped him off at my sister’s.
Sheriff: “And now where are you going?”
Sheriff: “Home in NY? Home in LA? Home where?”
Ok, really? Honestly?? Again. Breathing.
Me: “My parent’s home, here in Santa Barbara.”
Sheriff: “Which is where?”
Me: I give her my exact address. I would write it here, but then my stalkers would know where I live. And I would prefer they just Google that instead.
Sheriff: “How much have you had to drink?”
Me: “One glass of wine.” She gives me an eyebrow. “I swear. I will take whatever test you want me to.”
She shines the flashlight DIRECTLY in my eyes. Ow.
Sheriff: “Have you taken any drugs or are you on any medication?” I shake my head no, confusion flashing across my trembling features. “You’re not on any medication?” I know, I get that a lot. Can we just get on with this, sheesh. “Have you bumped your head in the past few days?” Ohhhhh now I see where she’s going with this one.
Me: “No, but I have a dilated pupil.”
Sheriff: “Yes you do. And why is that?”
Me: “It’s uh - I was born like that. It’s been like that since I was born.”
Sheriff: “Anything else I should know about your eyes?”
Me: “Um, no, well, I have an extra tear duct on this one, well, actually it’s not an extra tear duct, I always thought that’s what it was because that’s what I was told when I was little, but it’s not actually, it’s just like a little hole, well almost, well I’m not sure exactly what it is - “
Sheriff: She is now apparently seriously amused by my nervous stammering and trying very hard to keep a straight face. “Maybe just some scar tissue?” She’s just lucky I didn’t get into the story behind my crooked pinky. It’s a dominant genetic trait, in case you were curious.
Me: “Yeah.” Maybe the important thing about my eyes would have been the fact that I’m near-sighted. Oh well. No need to back-track now.
Sheriff: “Ok, follow my finger with your eyes, without moving your head.”
She is once again shining the flashlight directly into my eyes. First of all, Ms. Sheriff, my eyes are sort of naturally attracted to anything bright, sparkly or shiny, so my first instinct is to keep looking back at the light and not at your fingers. Second, I am seriously blinded by that light and can barely even see your fingers. Third, there is no way I can make my eyes go that far over without moving my head. My peripheral vision is pretty stellar, but I don’t have Gumby eyeballs.
Sheriff: “When was the last time you ate?” It is currently 10:15pm.
Me: “Um, well, I guess I had a little something at like 6 or 6:30.”
She just nods. Sh*t. This is going to come to a less than delightful end.
Sheriff: “Ok, step on out.” I start to open the door, morosely pondering what she might have in store for me. She stops me: “No, I said sit tight.” Oh. Right. Of course. I can hear. I don’t really think you’re going to make me walk in straight lines and then put me in handcuffs and arrest me and destroy my entire life.
I sit and wait. Tears well up. I start to wonder what exactly she’s going to give me a ticket for and how much it is going to cost and just how tragically miserable I am going to be.
She starts to walk back toward me. I rub away the tears, leaving the pathetic evidence for sympathy points.
Sheriff: “Ok, here’s your license.” I take it in my shaking hand. “Do you have any idea how much paperwork I have to fill out when you cause an accident?”
Me: “I’m so sorry.” Just keep saying sorry. Juussstt keep saying it.
Sheriff: “Ok. Now you can just turn right out of here and you’ll get to the freeway. Be careful.”
She walks away.
AHHH I'M SAFE.
I immediately retract all previous expressions of regret.