Thursday, December 29, 2011


I really don't get why I am arrested wherever I go? Last week I was stopped for speeding. I was going forty miles over the speed limit. ( Ok I guess I do actually  knowwhy I was arrested.) It was off on some country road where the speed suddenly dropped from 80 to  35 for the distance of one general store. I was told by the polite Canadian policeman that if I get another ticket I could lose my license. OH MY GOD! That made me rattle in my Roots boots. My husband, who was travelling with me, didn't say one word.  (But you know what they're thinking, right?)

I travel all around the Untied States and Canada in my trusty Subaru Outback on a publicity tour for my memoir TOO CLOSE TO THE FALLS and AFTER THE FALLS.  The very next day after I got my ticket  in Yuppitsville, Ontario, I was travelling in the United States near Niagara Falls, New York. I saw a policeman on the side of the road issuing a ticket to some poor  schmuck.  Thank God, for once, I was going under the speed limit.

As I putted along  in self satisfied contentment ,  I heard a police siren behind me roaring up my tailpipe. I ignored it  since I have been properly chastened on the previous day and was now going under the speed limit.  Then I saw two police cars behind me blaring  their sirens as though they were rehearsing a scene from Mean Streets. Well whoever the police is  looking for is really in trouble. I continued on past the New York Power Project overlooking the Niagara River just above the Falls.

Suddenly a police car cuts in front of me forces me off the road.  I was literally the title of my Book, TOO CLOSE TO THE FALLS.  With pounding heart and a Tim Horton's in my hand, I rolled down the window. The robust police man ( I was sure he had another miniature policeman-in- training  tucked in his bulging navy police shirt, said,
'Listen lady I have been trying to get you go to pull over for about 20 miles. I had to call for back up. You have been resisting arrest.
I looked behind me at the parade of whirling red lights.
'Well you found me. What's the problem? For the record, I going under the speed limit.'

Here comes the Kafkaesque  part. He then said:
 'Well I suggest that you just sit there, Missy, until you realize what you have done wrong. You clearly need some time to think of it.' 
I looked  behind me and he had pulled over two other cars with me. One was a custom made suit  in a Lexus and the other was a man  in a rusted truck with a mullet hairdo who looked like Clint Eastwood without the tan. I looked in the rearview mirror and the man in the Lexus made a gesture to me with his hands in the air indicating that he also had no idea why we'd been pulled over.  I returned the gesture.  The guy in the pickup truck hit his head on his steering wheel and screamed out of his window that he was late for work.

Apparently we all had to wait until we realized what we had done wrong.  Hopefully it would  be a quick revelation.  It is amazing what comes to mind when you are told to sit by the side of the road and conjure up your sins-- be they present or past ---But let's not go there.

 Finally after about 25 minutes the man in the pickup truck started screaming 'Fuck' out of his window and telling anyone who would listen that he was going to lose his job if he didn't get to work.  Then after a half hour of our  curb-side act of contrition, the mullet man got out and banged on the hood of the police car yelling what we were all feeling: "What the hell  did I do wrong. Just give me the ticket.' ( Do  you how long a half hour feels when you are pulled over to the side of the road?) At this point two policemen get out of their cars and pin the mullet head to the hood of the car  and spread eagle him. Then they immediately  throw him in a police car and speed away. The guy in the Lexus and I exchange raised eyebrow glances in the rear view mirror.

Finally the Policeman returned to my car  and with arms folded in front of him he rocks back on his heels and asks , 'Know what law you broke?'

When I looked blankly at him, he continued:

'Did you see  me giving a ticket on the side of the road back about twenty miles?'
'Well you pret' near  too off my backside, lady.'
'I could have clipped a lot and he still would have had an ample backside in my opinion-- but having been arrested two days in a row , I decided to keep my opinions on police proportions to myself.

'Well it is the law in New York State that you have to change lanes when you see an officer of the law giving a ticket. It is your responsibility to leave a lane between you and the arresting officer. You did not comply with that law.'

'I never learned that is drivers education in high school  when I lived and grew up in New York State.' 
'Yeah well maybe New York wasn't even a state when you were in high school. Laws change and it is up to you to learn them.' 
'I am from Canada and this is a new law. Can you cut me a bit of slack?'
'Never travel without knowing the law in another country. Ever see Midnight Express ? He didn't know the laws of the land now did he?'
He then issues me a  whopping ticket. ( I now have two tickets within a few days  amounting to almost $700.)  As I am driving away , the suit in the Lexus motions me to  pull over at the next fast food exit.  In the Wendy's parking lot, he approaches my car and asks:    "Did you know that Law?"
'No'. I was now completely befuddled by this entire misadventure.
'Well it's new.  I had just heard about it on Eyewitness News.  However, I couldn't pull over because it was on a curve and there were two transport trailers in the lane and I couldn't squeeze between them. That cop wouldn't listen to me. We should fight this. I mean this is God Damn America!" 

Three weeks from today we have our day in a New York State court.