There is a reason I have always had a reputation as a "good girl." When I was in the 8th grade, a gang of boys (one of which I really had a crush on, making it even more upsetting) would call me "Sister Diana." I never cursed. I was sweet and polite and old-fashioned. As we grew-up, I never experimented with drugs or alcohol. I taught Sunday school to 1st and 2nd graders on my weekends. A small gold cross forever dangled from around my neck. I was the typical nice, wholesome, girl-next-door. Sandra Dee. Charlotte York.
I pretty much stayed the same in college and after. (Except now, my crucifix is silver.)
The other night, I had a run-in with the law. Four cop cars, to be specific, and at least four cops. I am still a bit shakey, and never want to go through anything like that ever again.
I was driving home from the train station around 1:30 AM. I had a really long day...I commute to New York City from NJ for work, and I recently became involved with a production in Wayne, NJ. On Wednesday, I left my house before 7 AM, and wasn't on the train coming home until about midnight!
This makes a girl slightly tired.
When I am tired and it is late and the roads are empty, I drive slowly. Now, I already AM quite a slow driver, usually going about 5 miles below the limit. When there are no cars around me, however, I go quite slow, I enjoy not having to keep up with anybody else's speed...nobody to honk at me to go faster or to pressure me into making turns when I'm not comfortable.
After Wednesday night, I will never feel like this again.
I will become a speed demon.
I was driving along, minding my own business and listening to Michael Buble's latest CD (which I will never listen to AGAIN because it will make me relive this incident) and my mother called. My mother spends much of her time in her Florida home now, but when she's in NJ, she automatically goes back to overprotective "it is 1:30 AM and my child is not in her bed" mode. My cellphone rang, I slowed down, put on my light to find my phone, opened it, quickly said, "I'm almost home!" and threw my phone aside.
(I never talk on my cellphone when I am driving...just usually long enough to say that to my mother.)
I turned my light off and continued to drive.
Singing along with, "You're a shooting star/You're a getaway car/You're the line in the sand when I go to far/You're a swimming pool on an August day/and you're the perfect thing to say..."
A police car was behind me.
Figuring that police car was not meant for me, I kept driving.
The police car was still behind me.
I pulled aside to let the police car pass me.
The police car didn't pass me.
The police car stopped behind me and a policewoman got out.
I immediately got out my license and registration, told myself, "Diana, you did absolutely nothing wrong and cannot be in trouble for ANYTHING, so just calm down."
The policewoman came to my window.
Policewoman: Didn't you see me following you?
Me: Yes...but I honestly didn't think you were following me...I wasn't speeding or anything...or was I?
Policewoman: PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR STEERING WHEEL. You were going 30 miles an hour in a 40 mile an hour zone.
Policewoman: Why did you have your interior light on?
Me: Because my mom actually called me because she was nervous I wasn't home, and I just picked up my phone long enough to tell her I'd be right home. I never use my cellphone when I'm driving.
By now, three more cop cars had pulled up and were surrounding me.
There were two cops to my right and two to my left.
WHY GOD WHY?
Policewoman: Have you ever been arrested?
Me: Me? Of course not...(thinking, "OH MY LORD THEY'RE GOING TO ARREST ME! AM I BEING FRAMED FOR SOMETHING?" I tried to remember if I had ever seen anything like this happen in a Lifetime movie and if so, how did Valerie Bertinelli or Patti Duke react when it did happen. However, I couldn't remember a similar scenario, except for that one with Cheryl Ladd when she got framed by the drug dealer and she had to go to the women's prison for years, and she became an advocate for prisons allowing the children of inmates to visit them more often. It was very touching.)
Policewoman: Why are you so nervous?
Me: Because I have never been surrounded by four cops at 2 AM when I wasn't doing anything wrong...
Policewoman: Do you have anything in your car that we should know about?
Me: ME?! Of course not...
Policewoman: Where were you coming from?
Me: Work. I commute into the city, and I'm doing a show that keeps me there late, so I wasn't on the train until about midnight.
Policewoman: Where do you work?
Me: (A whorehouse, I wanted to say) The Actors' Equity Association. It's the union for stage actors. I have a really long commute, and I need to be back on the train in about 5 hours...
Policewoman: I'll be right back.
Now, my mother was expecting me home, so I look at the policeofficers to my right and roll down my window and ask, "Can I please call my mother and let her know where I am before she worries?"
The guy told me that I could, and kept a flashlight in my face while I called my mom. (Not after he rolled his eyes and laughed to the cop next to him, "She's calling her MOM.")
(Another quick call. "Mom? I just got pulled over for going too slow...I think that's why anyway" and started to hang out right away, hearing my mom go, "ONLY YOU, DIANA! ONLY YOU!" It's something many people say to me on a daily basis.)
After I got off, I asked the police officer what was going on, and why this was taking so long.
Policeman: Because you broke the law.
Me: BUT WHAT DID I DO?
Policeman: You were going 30 miles in a 40 mile zone and you ALMOST HIT A CURB.
(ALMOST is the key word. I DID NOT HIT THE CURB. Even if I HAD hit the curb, I wouldn't have hurt anybody or anything! People hit curbs ALL THE TIME. Since when is hitting a curb at 2 AM when there are no other cars around you a federal offense?)
Policeman: Are you on any medication?
Me: Besides allergy medicines? No.
Policeman: Then why are you getting so nervous?
Me: BECAUSE I DID NOTHING WRONG AND IT IS 2 AM AND I HAVE FOUR POLICE OFFICERS' SURROUNDING ME AND ACTING LIKE I KILLED SOMEBODY.
Finally, the policewoman who originally stopped me hands me my ticket.
An $85 ticket for careless driving.
Two points on my license.
For driving too slowly at 2 AM and almost hitting a curb.
Next time, go find a rapist or drug dealer and leave the young woman taking her time getting home late at night alone, 'kay?
I finally got home, didn't sleep for a SECOND and honestly threw up about three times, remembering how it felt to have those cops flashing lights in my face, asking me if I had ever been arrested, as I thought back to the past 25 years, when I have always tried my hardest to be the best person I could be. I never have been in any kind of trouble. I have never even been DRUNK!
My mother told me to look on the bright side, that it's very lucky that I didn't have anything illegal in my car.
(Thank GOODNESS I polished off all of that cocaine I had in my glove department the day before!!!!)