Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

So today I got pulled over by a cop. We both played out the scripted roles.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?”

“I do.”

“And why’s that?”

“I was going too fast.”

“Yes, yes you were. Are you heading home?”

“No, I’m on my way to my teacher’s performance.”

“And you’re in a hurry because you’re late?”

“Well, to be perfectly honest, I just got my period and– I don’t have a–”

(pause) “When was the last time you were pulled over?”

“It’s been years.”


(Takes license and registration. Walks back to police car. Laughs with cop partner.)

The red and blue lights whirr behind me. It is a lovely summer afternoon in Tresele Glen. //

// Getting pulled over, for me, is one of the most nerve-wrecking experiences, hands down. I think I’m less nervous when I’m on stage in front of strangers. Something about authority figures, and punishment, and shame. I have been caught doing something wrong, and this is a direct reflection on what an awful human being I must be.

But I didn’t cry (which is what I usually do if I am pulled over). I meditated. I sat in my car with the soft purr of other cars on their way along Grand Ave stinging my heart. My mind wanted to jump in. It wanted to tell me how awful this was, how late I was going to be, how embarrassed I should feel. But I pulled myself away from its sticky attraction and centered my mind in shiktan taza (mind on nothing, just sitting). I kept getting pulled back. I wanted to make up all sorts of excuses about why I was speeding, or how my insurance rates were going to go up, or why in the hell I learned to drive like my speed-racer father rather than my conservative-wheeled mother. So I went to my more immediate practice — just feeling the end of my nose. As I inhaled and ex, I just watched the physical sensations of the air against skin, and tried with all I had to stay just, right, there — at the tip, of, my nostrils.

“Ma’am, Ms. De-joahng. I’m going to let you off today with just a warning. Do please slow down.”

“I will, Sir, certainly. Thank you.”

“Ok. Thank you.”

“And — I hope that wasn’t too crude, telling you I was on my period and everything. I just thought I’d be honest.”

“Yeah, I thought to myself — ‘sheesh, if she’s got the guts to tell me that–’”

“Yeah, sorry. (pause) I will slow it down, Sir. Thank you. Have a great 4th.”

“You, too.”

And as I pulled back out into traffic, I rolled down my window and gave him a little wave good-bye.

§1101 · July 3, 2010 · Daily1, Narrative, Over in Oakland · · [Print]

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