Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Field Trip To Lawrenceburg, TN.

So back in January, I was a clown for a kids birthday party an hour and a half southeast of where I live. Basically, Alabama. So, of course, I underestimate the amount of time it will take me to get there.  I'm in a hurry.  I get pulled over, because that's what happens to me.  We're all aware of my luck with cars.

The cop was definitely not forgiving.  He wrote me up for everything he could find - 4 total citations, with a mandatory court date of March 28.  I was pretty bitter about the idea of driving back out to Lawrenceburg again but I wasn't really in a position to negotiate.

So Thursday night I go to prepare for my next adventure to Podunk, Tennessee.  I look at my ticket.  The time at the top says 2:15.  Excited that they gave me a time, I get my paperwork together and go about my business.  Around noon on Friday, I'm walking out the door to my office and look at the ticket again. 2:15 was definitely the citation time.  My court time was at 9am.  I am envisioning a warrant out for my arrest, and call the clerk in a mild panic.

Me: So I'm having a mild panic attack. My court time was 
at 9am and I misread my time on the ticket.
Clerk: Wait, you're the one coming from Nashville, right? (I'd already called for directions)
Me: Yes ma'am, I am.
Clerk:  Well just get on down here, be safe. They'll be in for a while, you'll be okay.
Me: But I'm still in Nashville. I have to drive down there.  There's no warrant out?
Clerk:  You'll be fine. If they call your name and you're not there, they'll come out and I'll tell them you called.
Me: You're sure? I won't be cuffed when I walk in?
Clerk:  No. Just get on down here, you called and let me know, it's okay. 
Me: Okay. I'm on my way.

So on the drive down Rachel calls me, and I'm talking, not entirely sure where I'm going. Next thing I know, I'm like, 15 minutes from the Alabama border.  Deciding to focus on getting there, as I'm already about 4 hours late, I hang up and call the courthouse again.  Apparently Nashville is a foreign land to people in Lawrence County.  No one knew where to tell me to go. So eventually I figure out that I'm 20 miles past my exit, and tune into the Alabama radio stations for the remainder of the drive.  

The closer I get to Lawrence County, the stranger things seem to get. I start seeing an
 abundance of trailers and rusted out, obviously
 immobile cars parked on lawns.  I briefly 
wonder if anyone would notice if I parked my Toyota between them, but realize quickly that would require another means of getting myself back to Nashville.  I did NOT want to be without transportation in this part of the world. ----->

Apparently Lawrence County is Amish country - Tennessee style. (Yes, that's a horse and buggy crossing sign, and that is a meat outlet behind it.) I manage not to kill any horses or people, and keep driving into "town".  There's a Wal-Mart (of course) and about 37 Rik's BBQ gas 

Eventually I make it to the courthouse.  I walk in, now roughly 5 hours late for my appearance, and,  after riding in quite possibly the scariest elevator I've ever encountered, I make it to the
 traffic citation office.  The lady immediately recognizes me as the one that called her a grand
 total of 4 times that day, and she send me back to the judge.  Who is sitting in an office the size
of a closet that she shared with another woman, flipping through folders.  She opens mine up, 
crosses off three out of the 4 violations, and reduces the speeding violation to the minimum.  It took a grand total of 42 seconds, she sends me back out front and I'm done.  Nothing goes on my record, and I've been released from several hundred dollars of fees.  


So I hop back in my car and start to head out again, completely relieved.  This time I spend my drive enjoying the scenery.  Apparently the hot spot was the Kuntry Kitchen, and if I hadn't been alone, I would have insisted on stopping. I made the trek back to Nashville, slightly 
impressed that the Toyota had survived the adventure.

Basically, I should never drive. Period.

Friday, March 21, 2008

One of my finest moments.

So let me preface this by saying that I have been sick for the better part of a week, I am sleep deprived, and stressed out. Not that that excuses this. I just thought I would mention it.

So last night I made the drive from Nashville to Raleigh for the 13725412th time. I rented a car, because as you all know, my vehicle struggles to make it, like, out of the parking space in the morning. So after a slight struggle at the car rental place, I get on the road an hour later than intended. I get a little east of Nashville and stop to gas up.

I open the little superman blue door of the Chevy Cobalt, and my dog springs out from behind my seat and starts running his fool little head off in circles through the gas station parking lot. I am particularly well dressed in my super baggy sweats and a wife beater, and have no choice but to leap out of the car and begin to chase him. Barefoot. After his brush with death, I picked his little butt up and threw him into the back seat, slamming the door quickly. He’s such a jerk.

So after our ridiculous display, I begin the gassing up process. I start it up, and head into the building for some liquid refreshment and a bathroom break. (Yes, I put on my shoes. You’re gross.) In that time span, my mother calls. I am describing the scene I made with my idiot dog, and I hop in the car and pull out of the gas station.

I vaguely recall some people honking… I assumed they were honking at someone else… why would they be honking at ME? So I hop on the interstate and go about my business. I make it roughly 40 miles, before a car pulls up beside me and honks repeatedly and flashes their lights, waving two sets of arms out the window. This time I notice. I see them pointing in the general direction of my gas cap, and was like, oh, I must have left my gas cap off. Let me stop and close it. I make a graceful exit to the side of the highway, and a semi exits the highway along with me. I walk around the side of my car, and there is the nozzle for the gas pump, still attached to five feet of hose and a large metal connecting piece that had been trailing behind me leaving sparks for the past half an hour. I stare in disbelief for a moment while the driver of the rig approached me. He’d been trying to get my attention for the entire time, and was checking to make sure I was okay. I assured him that I was fine, just pretty severely deficient in the brains department. He left.

After the initial “I am the most retarded person in the world, what do I do now?” thoughts, I managed to regain a clear thought process: Call the highway patrol. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Hi. I got gas roughly half an hour ago, and forgot to take the pump out of my car.”
Dispatcher: “Yes, we have had about 29 calls about you.”
Me: “Oh yeah? Well, what do I do?”
Dispatcher: “Pull over and wait for an officer. We’ll send someone to meet you.”
Me: “Okay. Just anywhere?”
Dispatcher: “Yes ma’am. Which exit are you at?”
Me: “Exit 280.”
Dispatcher: “Pull off there and wait.”
Me: “Like, on the off ramp?”
Dispatcher: “Yes ma’am.”
Me: “Really?”
Dispatcher: “Yes ma’am.”
Me: “Fine. Thanks.”

A couple minutes later, a cop pulls up behind me. I open my door. Dog makes a run for it. This time, I catch him mid-jump and toss him up onto my hip, holding him like a small child. Barefoot again. In sweats so large I could fit three of me in them. On the off ramp. At 9pm. Because I stole part of a gas pump. I wait for him to approach me.

Cute cop: “Evenin’”
Me: “Um, hi.”
Cute cop: “So you still got the hose?”
Me: “Yessir, I do.” I pop the trunk, where the hose lay coiled. We stared at it for a minute. I think it’s a safe bet that he’d never driven off with a gas pump attached to his car.
Cute cop: “Well, I reckon they want their nozzle back.”
Me: “Right now?”
Cute cop: “Well yes ma’am. I think that would be the right thing to do.”
Me: “Yessir. I don’t know where I took it from.”
Cute cop: “Do you have a receipt?”
Me: “No sir.” I still had the freakin’ pump attached to my car. I most definitely did not acquire a receipt in that transaction.
Cute cop: “Do you remember the exit?”
Me: “No sir.”
Cute cop: “Town?”
Me: “No sir.”
Cute cop: “Anything?”
Me: “Um well I think it was east of Mt. Juliet. And I smelled BBQ.”
Cute cop: “That’s (so-and-so’s). Watertown, exit 238.”
Me: “Okay. So what happens?”
Cute cop: “Well, I reckon they’ll just be glad that you’re not hurt and they got their pump back. There’s not too much damage to the nozzle. No harm no foul, right?”
Me: (blank stare)
Cute cop: “Well, they’ll be waitin’ for you.”

I returned the nozzle. To the gas station where I’d already run around barefoot in my pajamas after a very fast orange dog then driven off still attached to their gas pump. They didn’t want any money. There was no damage to the rental car. Just my ego.