from LRC 2003
So here I am, yesterday, on my daily drive home from work in Sugar Land, back to home in Houston, wending my way through a one-mile stretch that passes through an island of suburbia known as (we’ll call it, to protect the not-so-innocent, namely me) Brookhollow Place. It’s a well-known speed trap. Drive fast–they bust you. My last encounter with them was a bad day about 2 years ago. I had run a red light in down town Houston at lunchtime, and worked until almost midnight. Driving home, I went about 50 in a 35–in Brookhollow Place. The cop stopped me. I was in a suit that day, looked totally legit, driving a car with all lights working–you know, the kind of guy who doesn’t deserve a ticket.
I told the cop, “Man, this has not been my day, I already got another ticket a lunch,” hoping he would let me go. He says, “Let me see it,” getting my hopes up. He’s gonna give me a break, I thought. A few minutes later, he saunters back up to my car and hands me the ticket. “What did you need to see the other ticket for?” I splutter? “Just wanted to check your story out,” answers the redneck.
Luckily I was able to get out of both tickets using a traffic-ticket lawyer I’ve used several times now. He doesn’t make me pay him, being a fellow lawyer, but doesn’t mind if I give him a couple of $25 gift certificates to Carrabas restaurant–so he can “give them to a cop at Christmas.” Hey, I don’t ask–all I know is every time I show up for my court date, the judge dismisses my case without me saying a word. Three or four times in a row now, over the last 2-3 years.
But I’m afraid my luck will run out one of these days, and I don’t want a ticket–makes insurance rates go up and all that. Or you have to take a stupid 6-hour defensive driving course to remove it from your record. Anyway, this is all background for yesterday…Around 6pm I was driving home, through the Brookhollow Place speed trap. It’s 35, I figure if you go past 40 you are in the danger zone. I was going about 45 and all of a sudden spy the smokey parked in the median. I hit the brakes but he zapped me when I was going 40 I was sure. I was on the phone and wearing sunglasses at the time. I locked my eyes on his car in the mirror, praying I would not see the car pull out into traffic…but it did. I knew I was busted. Luckily the road curved to the right, and he was just starting after me, several hundred yards back.
As the road curved and I momentarily got out of his line of sight, I espied a little subdivision off to the right. As I’ve done many times in the past, I quickly darted in, zig-zagging my way down the unknown streets, running stop signs and breathing hard. I’d long ago hung up on the wife, who was expecting me home for dinner after stopping at the store. Having a strange feeling he might be coming after me, I bore left into a little cul-de-sac (don’t you hate that term? almost as annoying as nonpareil and soi-disant, no?), and, thinking quickly–I knew I’d be a dead duck if he caught me, he’d know I was trying to evade capture–I quickly parked the car in the cul-de-sac as if I lived there, and got out immediately and started walking down the sidewalk as if taking an evening stroll.
As I exited the cul-de-sac, still on the sidewalk, I saw the cop car slowly approaching. He was creeping through the neighborhood trying to find me. Evidently he had turned the curve and seen that my Landrover was not further down the stretch of road, and deduced I had darted into the neighborhood. My blood froze, as I expected him to stop me right there on the sidewalk. But he didn’t. He must have seen only my truck, not me. And I had already removed my sunglasses and put my phone in my pocket, just in case he had seen those when I had driven past him.
I kept walking, afraid to look behind me to see if he was turning into the cul-de-sac to investigate the just-parked and still-warm green Landrover innocently nestled among cars, minding its own business. I quickly walked down the next cul-de-sac, looking for shelter or escape. Fences all round. I walked into a quiet driveway, and ducked behind a tree and hid by the water hose on the side of the house, hoping I could pretend was just… washing my hands?… if he should discover me. I called my wife back, told her I was going to be late, I was trying to evade arrest. “Oh Lord,” she says, “how do you get into these things?”
So here I am, allegedly an upstanding citizen, husband, and new father–trespassing on some stranger’s lawn, hiding behind a tree, hoping to evade a ticket, increased insurance, hassles with a traffic ticket lawyer, possibly arrest, and getting shot in the rear by an irate suburbanite.
Hey, say what you want, but you wan’t read this kind of stuff from Goldbert on The Corner….
Anyway, I was afraid to walk back to my car, thinking he might be waiting for me there. I considered jumping a fence or two to get back to my car some back way, but it looked too risky. Finally I noticed a few people were strolling down the sidewalk, so decided I could continue my stroll and look relatively innocent, even though I was wearing work-slacks with pockets bulging with sunglasses and cell phone. So I retraced my path, and walked past the cul-de-sac where my car was parked, not daring to look in that direction. But my peripheral vision saw no white, and after I crossed the street I doubled back and hid behind another house corner’s shrubbery–shrubbery is my friend, I am thinking–and carefully look into the neighborhood, all senses on alert. My spider-sense, luckily, did not tingle, and I finally assayed that the coast was clear.
Jumping into my trusty green steed–sans sunglasses–I carefully snuck out of a different entrance into the neighborhood, briefly crossing the smokey’s road–not going down it this time–into a different neighborhood and a back way home.
Such is my life.