So picture me driving home from a busy morning of activities and errands, completely spaced out thinking about my to-do list of emails to answer, doctor appointments to make, moving logistics to plan, what will be a quick and easy lunch for the kids and praying Associate A doesn’t fall asleep for the last 5 minutes of the drive home. Transitioning a sleeping toddler to their bed is a complete fantasy that only happens to magical mommies and their fairy children. The rest of us end up with upset little dragons who did not want to be woken up.
Anyway, when I finally do look in the review mirror I see beautiful twinkle lights in the car behind me. As I pull over to the side of the road, I am still in mommy la-la-land that I tell my associates “oh look guys, a police car is coming” assuming the officer was going to pass me and speed off to help some poor soul with real problems.
He pulls over right behind and I begin to realize that I am getting pulled over. I shift it into park, and fire a quick warning to my Associates “A police officer is coming to talk to mommy, please be quiet.” That was Mistake #1. Associate P then begins to get excited and spirals into a serious of questions that make my head spin.
While P is still babbling on in the back the officer approaches my window and asks if I know why he pulled me over. I have no idea. It could be anything. Much of the last 5 minutes of my drive is a blur as I was thinking about everything but driving. I couldn’t even remember if I’d checked my phone while driving… is that illegal in FL yet?
When he tells me it is an expired tag, I stare blankly at him.
Sure. Why not. If you say so. On my list of things to worry about, I promise you the little yellow sticker on the back of my car has not been ranked a in a long while. The tag expired 3 weeks ago he informs me. He takes my info and heads back to his car.
Associate P is still firing off questions, interrogating me from the backseat. After the 65th “Why did he want to talk to you mommy?” I responded, “Because mommy messed up.”
“Oh no. Oh no. Mommy why did you do it? Was it an accident? You should apologize. Will you get a time out? Why would you do it mommy, why?”
At this point I am still calm. 3 weeks expired is nothing right? He’ll check my record and see I’m a great driver and give me a warning. Nope. Mr. Officer DoGood writes me a ticket – $119 – and strongly suggests I go get it taken care of ASAP because I can, and probably will be pulled over again by our overzealous beachside cops with nothing better to do.
At this point my lip is quivering and I am holding back tears. He tries telling me a quick visit to DMV can have it solved today. I look back at the now sound asleep Associate A and Associate P, who is so excited he is almost busting out of his 5 point harness trying to press his face against the glass and look at the police man right outside his window.
Still composed, but feeling the frustration beginning to well up, I ask if I can be cited again for this if I can’t get to it for a few days. “Oh yes, absolutely.” Then I lose it. The quiet tears start to run down my cheeks. This was mistake #2. I waited entirely too long to pull out the water works.
The guy melted like a smores in a camp fire. I could see his composure change and he was no longer Officer DoGood, he was Officer I-Hate-these-Stupid-Quotas-I’m-Sorry-I-Had-To-Do-This-To-You. He apologized for not giving me a warning. “If it was only a week, I could have let you go with a warning. Please just get it fixed as soon as you can.”
As we parted, I was now angry at myself for letting the darn tag expire AND for not crying sooner. Silly me to think he would let a little mistake slide. The Man was imposing his authority on me because he had to, not because he wanted to. Had I shown a little emotion a little sooner he would have backed off and let me slide. I had it all figured out, I know how to beat The Man next time, I’ll just start crying and get away with whatever stupid little thing I did that was against the rules….
Wait a minute… that thought process sounds an awful lot like the antics my Associates pull 10 times a day. Only I am The Man imposing the silly rules… hold a railing on the stairs, take turns with your brother, you MUST put pants on… and they are the ones who whip out the tears and all too often get me to let them slide on their bad behavior.
Well, well well. This was an interesting little insight to the psychological warfare the Associates and I battle daily. The odds of me getting pulled over anytime soon is slim to none (I did make the effort to get to the DMV and get a new tag), but the odds of my Associates trying to weaken my will is a sure bet. So the question is, will I now be more motivated to remain firm and hold the line, or will I cave to the pungent guilt their alligator tears emit.
Only time will tell ;)