The Traffic Stop 1974

I was in a hurry, apparently, heading home from music practice. Driving the ultimate non-sexy tan Ford station wagon that was my dad’s car, borrowed for the evening as a good teenager will do, I swung around the Orange city traffic circle, a little oblivious with thoughts in my head from the evenings involvements. Apparently I didn’t yield the right-of-way to the traffic already in the circle, and my merge was a little tight to the car already rounding the park in the middle. But I’m a good girl, often called a goody two shoes, and not used to getting called out for misbehaving. So when a police motorcycle started flashing its lights at me, it set me to sweating, shaking, and put my brain on marbles. I exited the traffic circle to the east, stopping the Fairlane right across the street from the library, already closed for the day. I readied myself for a talking to by the motorcycle cop, hopping off his motorcycle in authority, approaching my window from behind. Apparently I was stopped at a place in the road that was still in traffic, so the officer directed me to start my car and pull around the corner where he would write that inevitable ticket. Ugh. 

Still shaking, I turned the key in the ignition. Nothing. 

Tried it again. Nothing. 

Then the officer yelled, “Ma’am — get out of the car!” I think he said “Ma’am….” Maybe it was “Miss.” Maybe it was just “GET OUT OF THE CAR!” People don’t usually yell at me. I was like an inexperienced doe with only tiny antlers, eyes caught in the headlights. I froze, and brain already on marbles, I couldn’t quite figure out how to unbuckle my seatbelt and I began to understand his panic…fire! Gah!

Finally the seatbelt yielded, and I exited the car. Not far from the library across the street, was the fire department. Talk about placement!

By that time there was flame and smoke rising from the engine, and a few minutes later, the fire department was all over my car. Toasty Ford Fairlane, up in smoke and doused in white foam. Had to call Dad and admit that I burned up his car.

I was shaken. Motorcycle cop was shaken. He did not give me a ticket after all.