My first time getting pulled over
My not-so-ordinary experience with the cops
“Do you know why I pulled you over?” This is the exact moment that I thought my life was over.
I was on my way to my friend’s apartment, it was about 9:30 pm. and I was sitting at the intersection of Englewood and Kenmore.
Sitting next to me was a cop. I was playing it cool with both hands on the wheel. My music wasn’t too loud and of course I tried not to make any eye contact that would attract any extra attention.
The light changed and two green arrows appeared, one for him to make his left hand turn and one for me to keep going on Englewood. Technically I was going straight, but since the road is curved I also got an arrow even though I technically wasn’t turning.
I drove maybe 200 ft. and parked in front of my buddy’s apartment and before I could unbuckle my seatbelt those dreaded bright lights were flashing in my rearview window.
This is when I really started to panic. I immediately started thinking to myself, “Oh my god what did I do?” I had never been pulled over by a cop before so naturally I was freaking out.
I’m not sure if this is always how it goes or if this cop was just taking an extra-long time to get situated, but after three or four minutes (which felt like an eternity), he finally approached my car.
“License and registration please,” he said. So, I reached into my glovebox and got my paperwork and handed it to him. This is where my night took even more of an unexpected turn than I ever planned for.
Before I could utter any words of mercy, the police officer saved me from getting a ticket… from himself.
When the light had turned, he watched me “turn” to keep going straight on Englewood, but he wasn’t sure if I could go when there was a green arrow or if I had to wait for the light to turn completely green.
When the cop handed me back my license and registration instead of explaining why he was going to write me a ticket, he explained that he was really confused why there would be two green arrows at that light, when only one lane was a turning lane.
Now at this point, I’m nothing but confused. The rush of adrenaline from getting pulled over had already made me nervous and knowing that I was going to get away ticket free made me feel like even more of a rebel.
The cop went on to have a five-minute conversation, basically with himself, pondering whether or not I made a mistake turning when the arrow appeared.
I would have been more intimidated, but at this point I already knew I was getting away ticket-free and the cop wasn’t too much of a bad ass himself.
Imagine Paul Blart as a regular cop; a larger goofy guy with the typical bushy “cop” mustache, who apparently had nothing else better to do on a Friday night in University Heights.
When he asked my opinion about what had happened, I just said that I wasn’t completely sure if I could have turned when I did and that I agreed with his confusion.
Even though I was going to get away free, I still had to throw the cherry on top of an already obscure encounter with the cops.
My mom was in the military for 30 years and is great friends with the police lieutenant, so of course I did what anyone would do. I name dropped.
The cop knew exactly who I was talking about and immediately started talking about what a great guy the lieutenant was. This guy legitimately just laughed and carried on with his one-sided conversation while I still sat uncomfortably in my car.
Finally, after ten minutes of dealing with this cop he told me to have a good night and drove off. At that moment, I melted into my car seat and zoned out for a few minutes, thinking about how my night could have totally been different.
In the meantime, I didn’t dare go near my phone while the cop was talking with me and I was still parked right in front of my friend’s house. My friend and his roommates watched the entire thing go down from their living room.
Once I got inside I felt like Han Solo right after he hit warp speed and escaped from the empire. It was an odd mix of adrenaline, nerves and bliss. I was just happy to be out of harm’s way and ticket free.
So, if anyone ever asks me if I’ve been pulled over by the cops, am I going to tell them that I had an overly-goofy cop and used family connections to get out of a ticket? Of course not! I’ll tell them it was my suave, laidback nature that helped me talk my way out of it all by myself.
Max Kalnitz is the senior arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.