Tuesday, January 05, 2010

...is THIS the kinda New Year it's gonna be? Ack!
I was driving the long road home since I had to go to the other side of town to get some stuff. On my way home, the main road, a 2-lane road, goes straight uphill and then turns into a 4-lane road at the point where it takes a hard right curve. I've been driving that road for ages. Today, I saw a cop car behind me; I checked my speed as I was going 'round the bend, and my car drifted a bit, onto the paint, but didn't go into the other lane. Helpful hint: It's not wise to check your speedometer when taking a hard right turn especially when the State Police is on revenue-raising mode (emphasis patrols, I think they're called). And sure enough, several hundred feet up that street, I was pulled over. Let's see...I followed the speed limit, my insurance is all caught up, and I have an absolutely spotless record. So what's the trouble, Officer?
I gave Mr. Policeman my drivers' license, insurance cards, registration, etc. Then he had to go back to his car to radio in all the details of my extremely unexciting life for everyone with police-band radio access to hear. When he came back to my car, he explained why he pulled me over. The Main Road, that I was following, becomes another road just past that hard right curve. I thought it was all the same road, since I was on a road that is heavily used. And, I was wrong. Road "A", which I embarked upon, continues straight into a residential area after crossing oncoming traffic lanes, and promptly dead-ends a few hundred feet down the line. Road "B", which continued the Main Road around that hard right curve, is a separate road, which happens to be attached to Road "A". Confused yet?
Imagine the intersection resembling the letter "y". Now imagine that letter backwards. Road "A" begins at the bottom, and the hard turn is where both diagonal lines meet. According to the shape of the "y", that's where the main road, "A", becomes road "B". "A". In short, the main traffic, all of it, switches from Road "A" to Road "B". To continue straight past that intersection on road "A", you don't have to stop, signal, or anything, even though you would cross two lanes of oncoming traffic to get to the dead-end portion of Road "A". I wonder how many drivers have died in crashes relating to reaching that dead-end road... There's irony in there someplace, huh? And it would make a good-sounding Algebraic theorem, something along the lines of A=B>y/P<(sb)<I2(m). Explanation: Road 'A' becomes road 'B' at the 'y' intersection (><) in which "P" (Policeman) with 'sirens blazing" (sb) pulls over (<) Innocent or Ignorant Motorist ('I squared) (m). Although in this case, I'm Not Innocent. As Paul McCartney sang on "Beware My Love" (the flip side of 'Silly Love Songs'), "if you insist, I must be wrong." Hoop-dee-do...
I got pulled over because I didn't SIGNAL. I found out that every time I negotiate that curve on Road "B", even though the main road bends sharply to the right, and there's no stop signal, I must signal when following the main road because technically, I went from one street to the other. BUT IT LOOKS LIKE THE SAME DAMN ROAD TO ME!!! Obviously, that last sentence wasn't part of my repartee' with the Man In Blue, who was protecting and serving, I think. But yeah, Mr. Cop-guy was right. It's gotta be great pressure to be right all the time, which they seemingly are. I hate it when they're right. Add to that the fact I'm still pretty new to this area, so I was operating with a certain amount of Basic Ignorance. But I didn't dare plead ignorance, or I might've gotten fined for being Ignorant. Which is all I would've needed...
The Mighty State of Oregon also uses a 'Stop Optional' type of road sign; a basic stop sign with a small sign underneath it saying that if you follow the road around the corner, you don't have to stop. As far as I know, this option is only used at 3-way intersections; y'know, where one road doesn't go through. But Mr. Cop told me that You've Still Gotta Signal, even if you're just following the road around the corner like the sign TELLS you to do. Again, the corner you negotiate lands you on (technically) another street! It's almost as if the Sign Itself is enticing you to break the law. A lot of motorists think, 'well, If I don't hafta stop, then I don't have to signal 'cos the sign tells me to keep going'...What's up with that? Well, lemme tell mah fellow Oregonians, no matter what kind of sign you encounter, SIGNAL! Just Signal!
Mr. "Blue Meanie" knew I'd be heading down that road and it was nice, I 'spose, for him to give me that heads-up. I've driven that road thousands of times and have never heard of this law. But now I know. And to prove his point, Mr. Cop, after dictating the Letter Of The Law to me, took off ahead of me and drove the same road that I use to get home. When I caught up to him, sho'nuff, he had someone pulled over for going 'round that corner without signaling. Gosh. In one way, I look forward to getting too old to drive someday. Cops give me the Absolute Creeps (explained another way: "C" (Any and all cops)=!!!!!!!!!! (me freaking out). I don't know what all happens in Police Academy, but it's as if Every Cop I've Ever Met is a huge, inflexible, impossible-to-reason-with cariacature of a human being. I respect them for the job they do, but don't expect me to ever socialize with people like that. Creepy, Indeed.
Perhaps this traffic stop did accomplish something positive: Now that I am Officially Paranoid, I'll be signaling for no reason at all everywhere I go, flip, flip, flip...I'll be signaling so often, my car will look like a Pinball Machine with Wheels. I'll signal left; I'll signal right; I'll keep on signaling 'til I'm Out of sight. I'll signal here; I'll signal there; I'll be signaling everywhere. I'll be a traffic signaling fool; I'll signal on dirt roads where no one lives for miles around; heck, I'll come up with some sort of signal which informs motorists that I'm planning to stay in the same lane. A sort of signal that says I don't need to signal. I'll signal even when I think I might be turning, but am not sure...a signal that says I might turn, but I just don't know yet. Oregon is a seatbelt-mandatory state; I wear my seatbelt Religiously, even tho Bill Cosby once said (on a comedy album) that "The only reason for seat belts is that the ambulance driver's too lazy to look for the body". And if I'm ever in a horrendously hazardous Traffic Incident, I'll try to devise a way to signal, "quick, someone call an ambulance before I bleed out!"
I suppose it was a slow day and Mr. Policeguy needed to keep busy. He's just doin' his job. In fact, overdoing it, which oughta make someone happy (but not me). Sighhhhh...in this quest to get older and wiser, I think I'm just getting older, and that's it. Look, I am a Very Safe Driver. If all people drove like me, this world would be safer. So why do I feel like a Criminal tonite? At least I didn't get fined. He let me off with a warning. So that's something...


Blogger Dogwalk said...

Lol! Why is it I think this could only happen to you! Happy New Year, Dave.

3:04 PM  
Blogger some guy who blogs said...

Wow! An actual comment. I'd been worrying that my blog-quality was sufficient/deficient/whatever. Actually, I ran a red light two years ago and the lady cop who pulled me over didn't give me a ticket. So, it could be these (hopefully very occasionally) traffic stops are my way of staying in touch with reality? Nothing is real...nothing to get hung about...

7:03 PM  

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