Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Three Cops and the The Stig.

"Top Gear" is my favorite television program. Hosted by three fey middle-aged British men, the show involves test driving supercars, timed celebrity laps, and ridiculous challenges like racing buses and driving across Viet Nam on a moped. The show also features a "tame racing driver," someone in a white jump suit and helmet known as The Stig.

I watch the Stig driving Aston Martins and Zondas and Bugatti Veyrons around the test track and I think to myself: "God, I'd love to have a go at that!"
The driving, that is, not the Stig. I really, really would.

Being an American, I am wont to declare my affection for and allegiance to things by purchasing a decal and placing it on my car. Therefore, I have a die-cut Stig decal on the back window of my big black Dodge which proclaims: "I AM THE STIG."

By what may be just a strange coincidence, I have been pulled over by cops more times in the last six weeks than I have in the 22 years I've been driving. Cop #1 pulled me over one night as I was on my way home from my part-time job. I'd crossed over the center line a few times, apparently, and he wanted to see if I was drunk. He asked me some questions and checked my information, thankfully not making me get out of the car and do a sobriety test. Cop #1 sent me on my way telling me to drive carefully.

Cop #2 got me for going 52 in a 35. This was not very Stig of me at all, I feel, as one does not really reach a true state of Stigness until the needle hits at least 65. Nevertheless, Cop #2 issued me a ticket. The cheaper kind of ticket that didn't result in the points on my license; the one they give you and make it seem like that hundred bucks it's costing you is a big favor. It was my own dumb fault, as there's a speed trap on this stretch of road every Saturday morning. There's always one of those weird keyboardy-looking radar things set up alongside the road, a fact which on this particular day completely escaped my attention.

Cop #3 pulled me over for a 'rolling stop.' You know what I mean, where you slow down to a near stop, but don't stop completely. It was at one of those intersections where no one ever comes to a complete stop because it's a stupid place to have a stop sign. 500 people probably roll through this stop sign on a given day, but evidently it was my turn to get a ticket for it. Second verse, same as the first; cheaper ticket, no points, hundred bucks and a tug of the forelock. "Thank you ever so much for not giving me points or a bigger fine or shooting me, officer sir."

I don't know if it's the decal that's getting me in trouble. One would have to assume that in order to know about the Stig, all three cops were the sort of fellows who watch BBC America. Somehow I think the odds are against that. And if they do watch, and they are fans, you'd think that rather than inciting them to pull over and issue tickets they'd be saying "Go, Stig, go!" while waving their little clipboards.

My husband says it's because I drive too fast, but he drives like an old lady so what the hell does he know?
In any case, as of late I have been mindful to stay between the lines, watch my speed, and come to a complete, lingering stop. How dreadfully UN-Stig.

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