12 September 2007

La's Finest

My very first encounter with one of LA's finest and I am happy to report all went well!

I had a friend visiting and we decided to make a very adventurous shopping trip out to the Cabazon Outlets (1hr 34 mins one way according to the mapquest.com esimate). We arrived without incident although I must say it was very very hot and going there in the middle of the California heat wave was not helping. Anyway thank God for water and sunglasses and air-conditioning. After walking the length and breadth of the place and buying everything in sight (huge exaggeration) we get in the car and head out back home. As I was driving she was my navigator, reading out directions from the printout I made the day before from mapquest.com. Somewhere along the line me and my no sense of geography self must have missed a turn or something because next thing we were like 30 miles to San Diego! Yepa mo gbe! I take the next exit of the freeway and pull up in the very well lit parking lot of a Bank of America branch. I called a friend who took one listen to the tone of my voice (he later said I sounded like I was about to cry) and had the courtesy not to laugh. Get back on the 215 (North) and then on to back on 'X' freeway (I forget now) then get on the 610 (abi na 710) Contrary to what he thinks I do not live in Long Beach, I will point this out to him later from the comfort of my apartment surrounded by my belongings. So we get back on the freeway and are cruising along (I didn't want to alert my friend but I was pretty worried about the car, the maintenance light had gone from green, to yellow and this morning rolled to red! Wouldn't it be just peachy if this car decided to make a weird noise and just die in the middle of nowhere? Of course when it rains it pours not only are we lost driving in a car which according to the Honda manual is 'totally unreliable' (or something to that effect) once the maintenance light turns red, my phone is quarter to dead and we are fast running out of gas, when it rains it pours right? I began to recite Psalm 23 and made a quick pledge that I would go get de oil change etc as soon as I got home, that I would buy a car charger and will stop waiting for my fuel gauge to flutter just above empty before I fill up my tank and most importantly I will buy a GPS navigation system (Garmin c330 is after all only $228.54 at Wal-Mart). Its like past 9 pm at this point and I am not exactly sure I am traveling at the speed limit. I am traveling in the fast lane and I look in my rearview mirror and I see flashing lights! WTF?! I looked at my speedometer, 72 mi/hr give or take 2 miles. Okay o, I indicated I would be making a left turn and pull over. Imagine my surprise when the police car just kept going. Whats going on then I saw another police car pull up behind me. What is going on? I turn down the music and wait in the car. The cop comes to my window and I wind down. 'Good evening ladies may I see your license and registration please' I hand over my license and what turns out to be my registration. 'Do you know why I pulled you over?' he askes as he looks at my 'particulars' I am thinking damned if I do, but I am too sure you will tell me. 'Ma'am is this car registered to you?' 'Yes it is' 'Ma'am may I ask why you are driving a car registered in California with a drivers license from the state of Texas?' 'Err because I used to live there and only recently moved ...' I was half expecting a buzzer to go off somewhere and him to say 'Wrong answer, go to jail, go directly to jail do not pass go do not collect $200' 'Ok. Ma'am the reason I pulled you over is you didn't relinquish right of way to the mercy vehicle behind you' Oh so that was what that was! How the heck was I supposed to know, besides I pulled over the minute I saw him. Of course I didn't vocalise any of this I just said 'Oh'. He hitched up his trousers and continued to educate me 'In the state of California when you are in the fast lane and a mercy vehicle which could be a firetruck, ambulance, etc is behind you, you should move into the slow lane and let it go by you.' I do recall reading something like that in the Drivers Handbook I read in preparation for taking my drivers test, also not a week to the day, I had also received a similar lecture from a friend on our way to the bowling alley! All this proves is that I am one big 'alako gbagbe' () I put on my best 'I so was not aware of this' face and silently prayed for the best. My bank balance is barely hanging on after all the damage I had nonchalantly done to it over the last 6 hours, a ticket would just finish it. and don't forget, we are not sure if the car is functioning according to the Honda maintenance manual! 'Ma'am I will not be writing you a ticket today, (I almost unhooked my seatbelt and hugged him, realising that would for sure guarantee I get a ticket, I settled for the 'cheaper' sigh of relief/slumping over the steering wheel) 'Next time remember the mercy vehicle has right of way' he said as he handed over my 'particulars' 'Yes officer' my friend and I chorused. 'Okay then, drive safe, you ladies okay with directions?' 'We are lost' my friend and I chorused again. 'Okay, which highway are you trying to get on?' '91 West' my friend replies. 'There is a lot of construction going on in Riverside so I would avoid the 215 through there' (tell me about it, we drove through all the construction/commotion) just drive about 20 mins then take the 'Van Buren' exit and just follow that down you can join the 91 from it.' 'Thank you officer' we chorus again as we get on the road and follow his excellent directions. My friend calls back to find out how we are doing, thankfully my trusty Nokia hung in there with me. 'We are fine, on the 91, I will call when I get home'. Finally I get on the 110 and then take the exit to my street, I have never been so happy to see my street or my apartment building for that matter! I say a quick prayer of thanks for journey mercies as we alight. Of course I collapsed in a tired heap once I got in my apartment.

P.S. I am yet to change de oil etc in my car, I have perished the thought of buying a car charger and the needle for my fuel guage still flutters below empty before I head out to the gas station. I have made several trips to Wal-Mart and I am happy to report I am still sans GPS nav system. I do have Triple A though :-)

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