Saturday, October 01, 2005

Big fat lies (and how useful they can be)

Carrie got pulled over by the traffic police the other day, and found it an unsettling experience. It reminded me of the times I've been pulled over, in the days when I used to drive. It only happened twice, and I never got a ticket.

The first time was when I was fifteen, and speeding home in my father's car. (Yes, I had a licence - that was the legal age in NZ way back then.) The policeman told me to get out of the car, and I opened my mouth and a big fat lie came out. I was SO surprised. I'd always thought I was an honest person, and had to revise my opinion of myself.

"I, er, just got my... um... period," I stammered, acting all coy. "Do you mind if I don't get out? It's just that, er, I wasn't expecting it and I think I've made a mess of the seat and I'm REALLY embarrassed and trying to get home in a hurry so I can clean up ..."

The very young policeman went bright red and didn't know where to look. He told me to go. I drove off, feeling guilty and astonished and exhilarated all at the same time. Where did that lie COME from? It just popped out! And what if he'd told me to get out of the car anyway and found out it wasn't true?

The next time I was pulled over was a few years later. It was the early hours of the morning, and I got pulled over because I was driving so slowly and was too tired and drunk to bother braking when I went around a roundabout (aka traffic circle). Instead I slowed down well in advance and went around it slooowly. The tyres squealed, which was a bit surprising because I was going so slow. The police car was at the other side of the roundabout, and two policemen waved me down. I stopped, leaped out of the car so they wouldn't notice I wasn't wearing a seat belt, and they asked me if I was all right. They'd been watching me and wondered if my brakes were working. I told them I'd been working late and was very tired, and thought I was going slowly enough to not need to brake. They pointed out that the car's WOF (Warrant of Fitness) had expired the day before (I hadn't even noticed) and that my tyres were bald (I hadn't noticed that, either), which was why the car had squealed so badly around the roundabout. I lied and told them I had the car booked in for the WOF and a overhaul the next day.

I also told them I'd been working late. This was true, except that I'd worked until midnight and then partied until 3am, and the non-alcoholic punch was LETHAL. Somebody had emptied two bottles of vodka into it halfway through the evening and I hadn't noticed until I went out into the cold night and found myself staggering all over the place trying to get the key in the car door. I went back into the party and demanded an explanation, and that's when someone confessed about the vodka. But I had to get home, so drove anyway, even though I knew I shouldn't.

The policemen were sweet. They kindly offered to drive me the rest of the way, saying they were concerned that I was too tired to drive safely. I thanked them and refused. I said I was fine, the shock of being pulled over had woken me up, and I would be careful. Actually I would have liked to be driven, but I was worried that if one of them was in the car with me he might smell the vodka on my breath, or I'd start giggling. They insisted on following me home anyway, to make sure I was all right.

Wasn't that nice of them? It is incredibly stressful, though, being escorted by a police car while you're driving drunk along a winding coastal road.

I don't know why they didn't notice I was drunk anyway, or even ask if I'd been drinking, but perhaps it was the car. I had an ancient Morris Minor, a car usually driven by harmless little old ladies, and you took on an innocent aura when you drove one of those. Naughty people did not drive Morris Minors and that was all there was to it.

What do harmless little old ladies drive these days, anyway?


kenju said...

This particular harmless old lady drives a minivan.

Funny story, but don't ever tell your kids (if you have any).

doris said...

Oh lordy - that was so funny!

Naughty, naughty you for driving under the influence so shan't say more on that.

As for the lie - spectactular and very empowering to discover one has that ability. And so naturally too.

sleeper said...

That's funny ahah. Girls could always use that kinda of excuses and boys have to believe it coz there's no other options ahaha.

Pkchukiss said...

I do drive under influence too.

I love how the traffic light influences my right of way.

Cheryl said...

Round here, unfortunately, on Financially-secure-geriatrica-by-sea, 'harmless' little old ladies tend to drive BMWs and Volvos. Big ones. The kind where the shrunken dears have to hoist themselves straight to peer THROUGH the gaps in the steering wheel.
Most of them are convinced that if a roundabout wasnt there when they learned to drive then it doesn't really count and I don't think signs painted on the road itself actually register at all.

Ms Vile File said...

Most impressive.

Teach us grasshoppers the way of Perfect Lies, Master.