Thursday, November 01, 2007

What if you see a cop up ahead...what do you do?

Comedian Steve Martin once offered a blanket solution designed to resolve most any conflict. According to him, all you say is, "I FORGOT". When someone asks you why you didn't conform to this or that regulation or policy, you just open yer yap and say, "I......FORGOT". However, that's not gonna help ya if you get stopped for not having your seatbelt buckled. And, oftentimes, the situation just worsens if the motorists sees the cop, THEN tries to buckle the seatbelt while the car is still moving, before getting stopped.

So I am going to provide a public service here. I am going to tell you HOW to buckle your seat-belt while you are still driving, and that way you won't be driving like the proverbial drunken sailor while trying to appear that you're conforming to the seat-belt law. Bill Cosby once said on one of his old '60s comedy LP's: "Seatbelts come in handy 'cos the ambulance driver's too lazy to look for the BODY!" Actually, seatbelts are essential in this age of uncaring, selfish, out-for-themselves, rude, aggressive drivers. And since I live in OREGON now (a mandatory seatbelt state) I (almost always) buckle up before I get moving. And if I FORGET...I buckle the belt while I'm moving. How do I do that?

I've heard on various newscasts that cops have busted drivers who try to put their seatbelts on before getting stopped, because their cars swerve all over the place, and in addition to a no-seatbelt charge, they can get slapped with reckless endangerment, being a nuisance to society, erratic driving, being a total fricking hosehead and who knows what else. Don't ya just love the way law enforcement can pile on the charges? My chief motivation for following the law is, I DON'T WANNA GIVE COPS THE SATISFACTION OF DIPPING INTO MY WALLET. So every day I follow the regs is one more day THEY CAN'T GET ME. I may have a lousy attitude, but I'm still alive. Because I follow the laws.

I've heard that cops do red-light stings. They'll be at an intersection and when they see motorists pull up and stop for the red light, the cops will look into the motorist's car to see if he has his seat-belt on. Of course, if your windshield is tinted, they may or may not be able to see that accurately. I don't know how successful a still-moving seat-belt buckle-up would be at that point, but down here in Oregon, every time I get in the car (or when I get down the road a ways), an automatic trip-sensor in my brain flashes a red alert: "SEAT BELT!!! SEAT BELT!!!" And I'd say that about 80% of the time, I buckle up before entering the roadway. But, since I know a cop won't take "I FORGOT" for an excuse, well, here's my backup plan, used when "I FORGET" to buckle up:

1. Keep your right hand on the steering wheel and make sure you're going down a straight stretch of road.

2. With your left hand, reach back and grab the seat belt by the metal clasp with your left index finger grabbing the belt.

3. Then, pull the seatbelt, by the clasp, to where your RIGHT hand is grabbing the steering wheel.

4. With your right thumb, grab the belt and hold it steady.

5. With your left hand still on the seat belt clasp, move the clasp BACK along the belt, and then pull MORE of the seatbelt forward, repeating instruction #1.

6. This time, grab the belt and clasp with your RIGHT thumb/forefinger as you grip the steering wheel with your LEFT hand.

7. By now, you should have plenty of 'belt'; pull it across and down with your right hand until you can feel the belt's locking mechanism, and gently glide the metal clasp into the lock.

Note: You might want to practice this a few times before you start your car, just to make sure you're comfortable with manipulating the seatbelt into the lock using the above instructions.

I think of this post as a PUBLIC SERVICE, for your SAFETY as well as your WALLET. It kinda wrecks yer day when you've been handed a ticket for more money than you make in 2 weeks, for something you FORGOT to do. And, I want the cops to EARN their money; not by nabbing me in some deceptive 'sting' operation. I'm sure police are all concerned about our safety, but, but, BUT...even though they'll widely deny it, a large measure of a cop's job is taking in MONEY from motorists. And if I can help it, I don't wanna give 'em the chance. I don't wanna contribute to some law-enforcement REVENUE DRIVE.

To any law-enforcement people reading this, I am NOT advocating that a person deceive the police. I myself have no criminal record and have not spent ONE SECOND in jail, and I'm 53, and have been driving for 35 years. But, us motorists hate getting "dinged" for money, and oftentimes, that's why we react negatively when YOU pull US over. At the same time, I don't want ME or ANYONE ELSE to die in a car crash. And actually, now that I live in a "mandatory seatbelt" state, when I buckle up, I feel like I'm truly a part of this area. Silly, I know. But I HATE the word "sting", and I hate the CONCEPT of "sting". Stings are DECEPTION, pure and simple, and oftentimes it's a thin line between "Sting" and "Entrapment".

In the meantime, I'm getting better at remembering to buckle up before entering the roadway. Call it "survival skills", I guess. I respect cops; I know their job is tough. I couldn't do it, though. I couldn't park in a shady spot somewhere, during a sting operation, and wait for one of my fellow human beings to screw up. It's just not in me to do stuff like that. I don't like to deceive people. And it IS deception. Even if it's's STILL deception. And that doesn't sit right with me.

CLOSING BIT: I just saw an interview of Barry Bonds. It seems someone bought the baseball Bonds hit, which broke Hank Aaron's home-run record. The owner of the ball is going to paint an "asterisk" on it, and give it to the Baseball Hall of Fame. An "asterisk" implies that the statistic is "altered". Bonds said that if the ball, with an asterisk, is indeed kept in the Hall of Fame, he won't go to his own induction ceremony (assuming he's admitted). I'm not sure Bonds has room to gripe. After all, he ALTERED his body with STEROIDS. Everyone knows it. And the baseball post-season soap operas continue.


Blogger Kendra said...

I love the car I have now, cuz it takes the decision of buckling up away from me- it just automatically does it when I close the door.
But the thing I'm dealing with now is my son's CARSEAT! Argghh. That evil contraption (I know, I know, it's necessary, God forbid we ever get in a wreck it'll save his life) is such a battle every time we get in the dang car. I pop him in the seat, he starts screaming and wriggling while I struggle to strap and snap and clip...
So see, strapping on a regular ole seatbelt on yourself isn't so bad after all!

I like your blog, it cracked me up.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Hi Kendra, hon...I've had some experience with the car-seat phenomenon, having been a cabbie. And I found that it takes the poor worn-out Mom at LEAST as long to UNBUCKLE the kid's car-seat as it does to INSTALL it in the first place. Yikes!

4:15 AM  

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