Well, not really. I smiled like a goof ball because I knew I was busted. I also knew that it wasn’t the end of the world. I ALSO knew that I have zero money to pay any sort of fine which is why I put on my best grin and tried to chum it up with the NYS Trooper. And…..IT WORKED!!!!
For the past week and a half I have been driving the same stretch or Rt. 20 four to six times a day. I see about 20 cars total, every day, pulled over. So, I watch my speed. I am not an idiot after all. Or at least not an intentional idiot. I have done stupid stuff, but generally I do said stuff without thought. Maybe I am a thoughtless idiot. Either way, my mother has told me for the past 23 years that I have been a licenced driver that driving barefoot was illegal. She also told me that smoking cigarettes caused my lip zits and that the nerdy boys in high school would grow up to become the best looking and most successful…I haven’t had a lip zit in 17 years since I quit smoking and the nerdy boys sure did turn out well. But I could attribute both of those things to growing up. I can hear her now (can’t you?) “you should listen to your mother…” Ugh.
Besides loving to be barefoot whenever possible (but especially when driving, I feel more connected to the road) I also drive with my left foot propped up on the dash. It’s comfortable. I know I look like a hick but I don’t care. I drive between 3 an 5 hours a day, over 100 miles so I want to be comfortable. I don’t care what others think.
One other thing, just to really set the scene…I also think I can drive and read. I can’t. I have proved to myself that I cannot. I think I told you the story of how, when I was 17, I was driving in Houston and I was so excited to have gotten a letter from a friend from home that I ripped it open and started reading (while I was barefoot WITH my left foot on the dash) and consequently wound up attached to a forklift. I can’t tell you how surprised the forklift driver was…Anyway, I got the message that I can’t read and drive. Doesn’t mean I won’t try though. I half believe that I just need more practice.
And so here I am today, my left bare foot propped up on the dash, enjoying my third trip down the same 20 mile stretch, and as I slowed down to stop at the light, I grab my cell to check to see if my kid had called. That’s legit. I was going to pick her up and I was unsure if she knew what time I was going to be there. Just as I decide I have time at the red light to take a quick peek at my Instagram page, I hear a whistle and look to my right directly at a cop who is staring at me with his jaw dropped. Ofcourse I will assume that it’s because I just showered and didn’t brush my hair instead opting to dry it naturally with the windows down encouraging my white girl fro. Maybe it was because I put make up on for the first time in a week…wait a second, how would the cop know that??? Is he stalking me??? Is this like a Grisham novel? I really hope not as I can’t stand Tom Cruise…
So I immediately drop my phone and plaster on my best “Oh My Gosh I Can’t Believe My Insanely Bad Luck Please Don’t Bust Me Mr. Policeman I’m Just A Silly Girl” face to which the cop responds with his own “I Can’t Believe The Stupidity” face and says ” Pull over”. I sigh and pull over. What choice did I have? This cop obviously is in love with me…
He comes up to the window and says ” You are doing three illegal things. I know you know one of them…do you know the other two?” Crap. A quiz. See, if I had perfected my reading and driving then I could have used my 3 hours of driving to study. I said (with my most genuine look of surprise) ” I have no idea Officer!” Which must have been effective because he smiled and kind of snickered but not in a condescending cop way…in a ‘you’re going to feel like an even bigger idiot when I tell you’ way. He said (to my utter surprise and my mother’s intense glee) that number one, it IS illegal to drive barefoot and number two it is most definitely illegal to drive with one foot on the dashboard! Imagine my shock that my mother had been right!!! And I made a mental note right then and there to check out the nerdy guy who I rejected in 4th grade. If my mother was right about the barefoot thing there’s no telling what else she is right about.
I told the officer that he just made my mother’s day because she had been telling me that for years. He laughed out loud and told me that from now on I should listen to my mother and to remember that not all NYS Troopers are jerks. Have a nice day!!! And with that, we parted ways. Can you believe it?!?! Yeah neither can I.
I was ready to give him all sorts of arguments. Like, I believe we could all get the hang of driving and talking on our phones if given a chance. There’s a learning curve for sure. Just like when cars got radios, we monkeys had to figure out how to drive and listen, drive and change the station…I think we can learn. Or how I have a tight right hip and that is why I drive with my left leg up on the dash, plus I had just put on some self tanner and didn’t want to mess up the back of my leg or the seat. Or how being barefoot really gave me a good connection to the car and the road thereby heightening my awareness of the driving experience and making me a more conscientious driver.
Instead, Officer Friendly told me to put on my shoes, put down my leg and don’t try to text and drive. I wanted to ask him if he thought the nerdy guy transformation/lip zit statements were kosher also but figured I shouldn’t push my luck. Yea for Troopers with a sense of humor and a soft spot for barefoot red heads who simply don’t believe their mothers. Life is good.