Walking on the Sun

20 Mar

Driving home from work on a sunny summer evening – another twenty minutes and I’ll be home. Smashmouth’s “Walking on the Sun” comes on the radio. I turn it up and step on the gas. It’s a beautiful moment; a rocking song and the last rays of the sun beaming down. Then I see the police flashers in my rear view mirror.

I pull over and a young cop approaches the car – license, registration – the usual.

When a second police cruiser pulls up behind me I sense trouble. Why the hell does the first cop need backup?

The first cop says, “There’s a warrant for your arrest.”

“What?”

“Dover Municipal Court has an outstanding warrant for $126 for a parking violation.”

Then I remember: I’d been given a ticket in the commuter parking lot when my meter ran out. A crummy little $12 ticket that I’d ignored.

The cop tells me he’ll call Dover and see if they’ll accept my paying the ticket on the spot. Meanwhile the second cop is walking around my RAV 4 ticking off all the things wrong with it: “Cracked windshield…bald tires…those tires are gonna blow.”

While they’re waiting for Dover to call back, they kill time writing tickets for the tire and windshield, but decide to let me slide on the fine for speeding.

The cop points to the windshield and says, “Why haven’t you fixed it?”

I tell him, “Sometimes you hit a rough patch.”

It’s humiliating having to talk about this shit with a guy young enough to be my son.

Dover calls back and say they’ll take the money. The first cop says, “Are you prepared to pay this?”

“I don’t know?”

“I can drive you to an ATM.”

“The money might be in there, it might not.”

Tops I have in my account is $140. If a check came in for payment today I’ll be going to jail.

The cop locks me in the back seat of his cruiser and drives the mile or so to my bank.

He lets me out and I walk towards the ATM like I’m entering a casino. I punch numbers and hope for the best. The ATM makes that lovely shuffling sound and 140 bucks comes out. It looks Like I’ve been spared a night with a bunch of drug addicts and assholes.

We drive to the police station and I pay the cop. While he’s driving me back to my car I listen to him talk to his wife on the phone, about whether the dogs were walked and if she wants a McDonald’s salad with ranch dressing for dinner that night.

Back at my car, I realize that in the excitement of being hustled off in a police cruiser I’d left my keys locked in my car. The cop tries to jimmy the lock and fails.

He drives me to a deli and I call Ann to pick me up. I’ll have to get a tow truck driver to open the lock in the morning.

Next morning, the tow truck driver springs the lock. As he drives off I get behind the wheel of the car. Turn the ignition.

Nothing. The battery is dead. I’d left the car in PARK and all the juice leaked out.

Back to the tow truck driver for a jump.

When it rains it pours.

(2003)

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