Tuesday, March 17, 2009

And throw away the key!

Last night, while I was at band, I missed a call from cousin Juliet. "Uh oh," I thought to myself, "she is so incensed at being called the second most interesting part of my weekend that she has called to wreak her revenge!"

It turned out to be Chris calling on another matter, but then I got to work this morning and found a comment from her questioning this very statement. So, I guess I'd best explain.

On Saturday night I was pulled over by the police. This was something of a shock. Fortunately, I have managed a Jack Bauer-esque escape, and am currently on the run. At work. Um...

It being my neice's baptism on Sunday, my parents had several visitors over, including all three grandparents. Due to my scheduling mishap, I was no longer triple-booked, and so went over to keep them entertained. En route home, I stopped at the Tesco about half a mile from home, and filled up the car, in order to be able to actually get to the baptism. So far, so good.

Anyway, on leaving the station, it being a clear night with good visibility, and there being absolutely no-one around, I drove home quickly. Very quickly, you might say, although I didn't actually break the speed limit at any point, if for no other reason that the roads just wouldn't allow for it. But, what I did do was take a handful of corners very quickly. (One of the advantages of having driven the same car for eight years, and having done more than 100,000 miles in it, is that I know pretty much exactly what it can and can't do.)

Well, they didn't like it. And so, just as I made the last turn before home (which, actually, I slowed right down for, it being a tight turn into a fairly narrow street), they lit up, and stopped me.

I was approached first by the police woman. Was I in a hurry? Because I'd been driving quickly, and taking those turns very fast. Her account of the drive was rather exaggerated, but I elected not to contradict it - that's never an argument that you're going to win. We were joined then by her partner.

At this point, it was becoming rather clear that I wasn't what they had expected. I think they'd expected a boy racer type, probably somewhat drunk. The cinema car park (which adjoins Tesco) is their typical haunt. And, let's face it, I do drive an old car, the sort that someone on their 'first car' might drive. So, they probably weren't expecting me.

Anyway, they decided they should probably run the standard checks, to be sure - a registration check on the vehicle (good thing I'd updated the registration promptly on moving in), a check on the tyres (slighty frisson of doubt on that one - how often does one really change the tyres?), and then the "have you had anything to drink" question. When the answer came back no, they didn't doubt it.

I guess at that point they had weighed up that actually, they had nothing on me. I wasn't speeding, I hadn't been drinking, the car was road worthy, registered, insured, MOT'ed, and I had a license. The only thing that might possibly have been there was maybe dangerous driving - but that one is inherently subjective, and in the absence of an accident, or some other law broken, I don't think that one can be made to stick. And, besides, appearances to the contrary I had always been in control of the car, so that was that.

Slightly amusingly, after they had done all their checks, while waiting for the DVLA checks to finally come back, they elected to engage me in small talk. When I said I was just heading home for the night, they commented that they were on until 7 the next morning. And, when I commented that I quite liked Falkirk, the response was that I must not see the parts that they see. I guess that's true. (Although, I suspect even those worst parts aren't actually all that bad. There doesn't really seem to be anything to compare with, say, Glasgow. And, besides, when compared with Yeovil, which was essentially dead on the weekend, even what trouble there is is probably preferable. And, to their credit, the police in Falkirk actually do a very good job.)

Anyway, they let me go, without even a warning. Of course, that didn't do too much good for my ability to get a decent night's sleep that night. But, hey, it gives me something to talk about.

(I must say, though, that between this and the TV license thing, I'm beginning to feel like the world's worst criminal. I mean, how am I supposed to develop a reputation as a rogue and scoundrel if I keep not actually doing anything wrong? I can't even turn myself in for the reward!)

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