Pop culture would have us believe that pregnancy is a ‘get out of jail free card.’
According to this list of “7 Things Every Pregnant WomanShould Do” getting out of traffic tickets is just a natural perk of fertility. So when I saw the unmarked car light up behind me yesterday morning, I was hopeful I'd be promptly on my way.
Calmly I got into position: Engine off. Windows down. Hands at 10 and 2 – on my bump.
“Do you know why I pulled you over?” asked the officer.
“I don’t.” I said, slowly stroking my belly.
“Well – when you merge onto a road, you’re supposed to signal.”
“Yes.” I nodded.
“and… you didn’t.”
“Oh. Well, I apologize officer – that’s really not like me at all.” Bobby sensed my nerves and started to kick.
“Also, your driver’s side brake light is out. Did you know that?”
“I really didn’t but thank you for telling me” I replied, rubbing my belly a bit faster.
“I’m gonna run your license. Is it clean?”
“Of course” I smiled.
“No suspensions?” he shot back, curtly.
“No.” I chuckled, shaking my head.
Back he went to his car as I sat shaking and bewildered. Never had an officer run my license. Who’d believe at five months pregnant my road-luck would suddenly dry up?
When the officer finally returned with two tickets I knew it was time to up the ante.
While he explained my charges, I tapped into the ever-present hormonal turbulence inside me, hoping to shed some tears. After all, during this pregnancy I’d sobbed over plumbing fixtures; dogs; mundane text messages; random radio commercials; nachos... surely in this desperate moment I could summon a few frightened drops.
Okay –no big deal. One quick trip to the mechanic would take care of the fix-it ticket and the other I’d just fight in court.
Though my walk back to the local mechanic was rainy, my car was done. I was one step closer to putting this all behind me! I had to have the repair verified by a police officer – any police officer - and the ticket would be thrown out.
The first police department I tried had zero parking. I circled several times and couldn’t find a single spot intended for public use. Since they’d have to look at my car it didn’t seem practical to street park blocks away.
No big deal - I decided I’d head home and Google our town’s police department.
When Siri led me to a Chase Bank instead, I had no cell service and my phone would not connect to the internet.
No big deal – I went old-fashioned, rolled down my window and asked a nice woman for directions.
“Oh that’s on Route 100” she told me. She forgot to mention her directions would lead me two towns away.
NO BIG DEAL! I’d been driving thirty minutes, had to pee but could juuuust see a state police department in the distance. It would all be over soon.
Suddenly the traffic came to a drastic, violent stop. It was an accident – an ugly one. Two cars lay dismembered in the road – one with its front ripped off – the other wrapped around a telephone pole. The doors were closed, airbags deployed; the people may still have been trapped inside.
With my bladder swelling and the state police department inches away, I said a silent prayer for the the collided and hunkered down in my car.
Twenty minutes later, I pulled in and parked in a spot. I waddled to the door and realized rather quickly that it was locked.
“If door is locked, ring doorbell” read a sign.
I did as instructed.
“If there is still no answer, use the yellow box to your right” read another sign.
I depressed the button on the big yellow box and heard a dial tone.
“911 – What’s your emergency?”
“Oh gosh, I’m sorry – this isn’t an emergency – I just – the sign told me to push this button. I’m here to verify a car repair for a fix-it ticket.”
There was a long pause.
“Someone will be with you shortly.” *click*
Another twenty minutes went by. At this point my child was doing jumping jacks on my bladder. Pacing back and forth, I contemplated how many tickets I’d receive for pulling down my pants and squatting on the unmanned, state police department’s lawn.
I had to distract myself. My cell service had returned so I decided to call my husband. I figured I'd try and put a funny spin on my horrific day and began relaying the hilarity to him step by step.
"Will - seriously - do you think I'd get arrested if I just peed on this grass?"
"Excuse me, ma'am?" said a voice from behind me.
I whipped around and saw a state trooper standing in the door of the tiny hub.
"Umm, Will? I've got to go." I said, hanging up. "Hiii... I um... would you look at my car? I got a brake light repaired for a fix-it ticket and I just need someone to fill out the paperwork."
"Sure," the trooper said smiling "let's take a look."
I climbed into my car gingerly, trying desperately not to pee my pants. I started the car and pushed the brake pedal.
"Hmm..." the trooper said. "I don't know if it's the sun glare but I can't see it."
"Press down on the brake again." he suggested.
"You're pushing it, right?"
"WELL, IT'S THE ONE ON THE LEFT, ISN'T IT??!"
The trooper just stood there laughing.
After asking another officer to block the sun glare with some paper, he was able to get a good enough look.
"It's fine." he said. "Where's the paperwork?"
Moments later I relieved myself (...in a toilet) and my mind was free to reflect on the ridiculous events of the day. Ultimately I concluded that pregnancy is most certainly NOT a 'get out of jail free card...'
...BUT it definitely adds a funny layer to the life of this small, awkward, married girl!