Left turn onto Thompson Drive

My last post was depressing to write and, what’s worse, it rambled and contained various non sequiturs. It read back to me like a 7-year-old explaining how a car engine works. Starting with simple observation and ending with the entrance of a superhero. Or something like that.

Speaking of which: defective headlights and Kerrville Police.

Last night, I got pulled over twice in the span of 20 minutes for a unbeknownst-to-me defective headlight (‘knownst to me, of course, after the first stop). The previous time I’d been pulled over was in May 1994, when I was speeding at 2am somewhere in North Carolina heading back to Atlanta after my friend’s wedding in Philadelphia.

But last night, we were picking up our middle son after he had dinner with his girlfriend at Chinatown. They were going for a walk in Louise Hays Park, and coming from the west, I was making the left off Sidney Baker South to Thompson. I was in the middle of the intersection and the light turned yellow, which is when I usually take the left, but a car that should have stopped at the opposing red ran it instead. (After multiple morally-gray turns like mine, I’m pretty sure the lights turn red simultaneously. Maybe this instance was different.) I made the left on red. A police cruiser who had stopped opposite me–and who I thought for sure would go after the absolutely morally corrupt red-light-runner instead turned behind me. On came the blue and red flashing lights. I was certain he had tagged me for the left turn; this seemed inescapable.

“Where do I pull over?” I asked my passenger, who is a native of these parts and yet was as stunned as I.

“Go down into the park.” Since we were heading there anyway.

I did, and pulled into the Loading Zone near the fountains. At this point, I kind of wished cars had the ability that dogs do: to roll over on their backs in submission to a Bigger Dog.

“What do I do?” I asked The Passenger. Meaning: do I put my hands on the steering wheel like in the cop shows, so that I don’t get shot or tased. I mean, really, last time I got stopped, I was 31, still drunk off the fumes of a weekend wedding celebration, and carefree. In 1994, I was trying to see what my red cape looked like when flying behind me at 75 mph. Last night, I didn’t know the protocol. The dance. Do I roll down my window first or wait for him to tell me to? Important moves like that.

The Passenger intoned: “Put the car into park and roll down the window.” We’re talking Violation Primer here. I shut off the engine.

Long story short: it was a defective headlight, and we got off with a written warning. After the paperwork and the apparently necessary confirmation of my weight–“Um…187. No, wait, 188.”–we were on our way.

With our son now in tow and telling him that story, we turned once more to Sidney Baker South headed toward Bandera Highway. Round about the top of that hill by Rio Robles, we had yet another Lit Up Police Cruiser behind us.

Again, my question, this time more annoyed than stunned: “Where should I pull over?” She indicated a small parking lot to the right.

I pulled in and put the car into park, ignition off, window down. I was Level 2 now, about to level up.

The officer approached, and I noticed he was a different person from the first officer who came to my window in Louise Hays. I looked back at him, hands still on the steering wheel. (I’m telling you: I’m not jeopardizing my Level 3 status with lazy dance moves.)

He smiled. “You already got pulled over tonight for this, right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Yeah. My colleague just told me. No worries. Y’all have a good night.”

Just like that.

The lesson?

Level 3 is easy.

It’s Level 2 that’s the bitch.

 

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