Last Friday I’m driving to Forgotten Felines to deliver feral cats being relocated to new outdoor homes. On the way, I stopped to quickly train a group of ladies who volunteered to feed cats living near the fairgrounds.
While at a stoplight, my phone pinged. I glanced at it on the passenger seat. It was Forgotten Felines. Why were they contacting me? Something must be wrong. So I picked up my phone to read the text. Damn! It said they needed to postpone until Monday but to keep driving if I’m already on my way.
Relieved, I put the phone down. Then I glanced to my left. There, staring back at me, was a policeman.
I thought maybe he’d ignore me since I hadn’t talked on the phone. So when the light turned green I proceeded as slow as humanely possible, hoping the officer would continue on his merry way. But you know that didn’t happen, don’t you?
He pulled in behind me, no easy feat as I maxed out at a whopping 2 miles per hour. I entered the freeway, staying in the slow lane (something I never do). The whole time I’m nonchalantly checking my rear view mirror. Yep, still there.
This went on for another 8 miles. Hum, maybe I’m in the clear. Or else he’s running my license number looking for prior car phone violations. At this point I decided to find out. So I changed lanes, heading to the fast lane (my home away from home). He changed lanes with me. That’s when I whispered, please don’t pull me over, please don’t pull me over. Then he pulled me over.
I watch enough crime shows to know I should keep both hands in sight on the steering wheel. We may as well get off to a good start, right?
Officer Allen: May I see your license and registration please?
Me: Sure, officer.
Officer Allen: Do you know why I pulled you over?
Me: Because you thought I had donuts? (Just kidding.) What I really said was: Is it because I picked up my cell phone at the stop light?
He confirmed my guess. And in that moment I saw that Officer Allen had kind eyes. So maybe I could charm my way out of a ticket. But here’s the thing. My days of being cute and charming are over. I’m 61, for God’s sake. Way past my prime in the looks department. Therefore, flirting was out of the question. What to do?
Since it was raining when I showed the ladies the feeding spot, my wet hair was plastered to my head, my pants were soaked and I wore muddy boots. I probably looked pathetic. Perhaps he’ll take pity on me. Or how about pity for the cats? Yeah, let’s try that angle.
So I shared that I was taking ferals to be saved a life of starvation living on the streets. But Officer Allen’s eyes didn’t tear up. Crap. He’s probably a dog person. So I waited for the $150 ticket.
Officer Allen explained that as of 2017, California drivers aren’t allowed to even hold a phone unless the engine is off. We can swipe a mounted phone to open it, but that’s all. He then kindly let me go with a warning. Maybe he’s a cat person after all.
As I continued on my way, my phone rang twice and text messages pinged. It took all my will power not to look at my phone. So I sped up to get to my destination quicker.
Lesson learned. My cell phone holder arrives next week.