So I was pulled over. Twice. It was a beautiful Friday, a week ago, and I am on my way to work, excited for the coming weekend. All of a sudden there are lights behind me. I am at a loss. I wasn’t speeding. I signaled before I turned. The officer comes over to my car and I roll down the window. The offense? An expired tab. I am surprised. I didn’t receive a reminder in the mail and I bought the car only 6 months ago. I tell the officer that I thought that with the new registration that the year started over with the transfer of ownership. I was wrong of course but he gives me a warning and lets me go. I am relieved.
That day was busy and I park the car in the garage that evening and don’t drive the thing the whole weekend. You probably can guess where this is going. I get in my car and drive to work Monday morning. As I approach the same intersection maybe 1/2 mile from my house I remember the registration I still need to renew. Too late! I look behind me and I see more lights and…it’s the same cop! He walks over to my vehicle and I again roll down my window for him. He tells me, “Matthew, I told you to take care of this.”
First off, I find it disrespectful to call me by my first name. I don’t call him “Jim” (or whatever it is), I call him “officer” and even “sir”. This casual use of my name also demonstrates that he remembers me well enough to do so. I said that I did not have an opportunity to take care of it over the weekend. He replies that there are no grace periods. I am thinking to myself what the warning was if not a “grace period”?! He goes back to his car and spends what seems to be an eternity writing the ticket and, donning a sly smirk on his face, he slowly sonters back in my direction, handing me the ticket. I tell him he gave me one business day (one!) to take care of it. He tells me to have a nice day with some enthusiasm. He is enjoying this! I say nothing and drive away. Did I mention the tabs had expired only three weeks earlier? Goodbye $124.
Now, ultimately I was in the wrong. I admit this. The registration is my responsibility and I didn’t renew them on time. He didn’t have to give me a warning but in doing so I thought it was silly to only give me one day (okay, the weekend) to take care of it. Other “fix-it” tickets give you more time than that. I imagine my financial setback the result of a Monday morning meeting where the commanding officer is informing his subordinates of a budget problem and to start writing tickets and not give warnings and lo and behold 30 minutes later I am seen driving down the streets and aha!… there is an opportunity.
Don’t get me wrong. I respect the police and I value their services. I just think this in this particular case he should have given me more time. But he didn’t and there is nothing I can do about that. I was so mad that morning that I had to remind myself to “bless my enemies”. So, I did just that. I blessed him over and over as I drove to work. I really did! Literally and out loud. I prayed and asked God to help me let the whole situation go. In truth, I felt uncomfortable at thinking of an officer as an enemy as I did it, but I was just so mad. It wasn’t law enforcement that angered me, but the percieved lack of mercy by that one person. Of course I renewed the tabs that day and I secretly wished he would see me again the next morning so I could drive by with my shiny new sticker unable to pull me over a third time.
So it was a bad day. Here is a video of footballers having bad days of their own, as well. I take certain comfort in it.