A few days before we were heading out of state for a short vacation trip, I reminded Dave about the inspection on our vehicle. It had expired – which he already knew. It was more than just a few days expired, too – which he also already knew.
“You know if someone notices this is another state, you’ll get nailed,” I told him. “You’ve got time to get it inspected before we leave.”
“Don’t you worry about it,” my hubby told me. “That’s my department. Let me worry about it.”
So I did.
To let him worry about it meant I had to quit worrying. I did that, too.
That’s because I remembered the time years ago when my cousin got stopped for the same thing. She simply told the officer to write the ticket out to her husband, since that was his department. Instead, the officer tore up the ticket. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance, but if it should happen, I was prepared!
Little did I know . . . my opportunity was just hours up the road.
We traveled through Virginia and headed toward West Virginia. As we neared the West Virginia border, we stopped at a small Mom-and-Pop convenience store to fuel our car. Dave unbuckled our six-month-old son and carried him inside the store. I slipped back outside to grab his sippy cup just as a state trooper pulled in right beside our vehicle.
That Ticket Giver
“Ma’am, is that your vehicle?” he asked me as he stretched his long legs out onto the pavement.
“Yes, sir, it is,” I replied.
He gave me one of those got you this time looks and pulled his pad out of his pocket. I can’t stand it when I think someone in a position like this tries to intimidate me. Let me tell you, the intimidation attempt was there in full force. This gal? I was determined not to be intimidated.
“Ma’am, are you aware that your inspection has expired?”
“Yes, sir, I’m quite aware,” I replied, thinking it was just too bad that Dave wasn’t outside with me. I did my best to keep a straight face on this one because it appeared that Dave was about to be had. (Yes indeed, I was going to love every minute of this!)
“Well, ma’am, I’m going to have to give you a ticket,” he said.
“Yes, sir,” I replied, pointing to Dave and our son, who could easily be seen through the window of the store. “You see that man in the store there? The one carrying the baby? That’s my husband. This inspection is his department, and I’m not supposed to worry about it. So could you just go inside and talk to him about it, please?”
I’m not sure what he said, but he put his pad away and went into the store.
I followed him, but I deliberately kept my back to the trooper and stayed in a different aisle of the store. I was laughing inside, and even though I wasn’t crazy about the cost the ticket would bring, I was gloating. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the officer head toward the section where Dave was standing.
Finally, I thought, he will get caught. Maybe next time he won’t be so stubborn.
We proceeded with purchasing our snacks and then headed out the door.
The Ticket That Never Came
I waited and waited and waited for Dave to say something.
Was he too proud to admit he’d been caught? I wondered.
Yet, he calmly just maneuvered back onto the road and headed northwest.
A few miles later (it was killing me, folks) I asked him if the officer had spoken to him.
“What officer?” he asked.
Would you believe Dave never even noticed the guy? Not a word exchanged between them!
“This is so not fair!” I fussed. “You know if it had just been me, he would have given me a ticket. How could you get away with this?!”
It’s been thirty years, and every once in a while when we drive past that convenience store, I remind him. Actually, I just ask him if he remembers. He just grins at me. He remembers all right. He remembers the ticket that almost was.
This I know. Since that time, my man keeps our inspections up to date. He’s a stickler about that sticker! Not only that, it grates him when his kids have expired inspection stickers on their vehicles. I wonder why.
It was a lesson well-learned for both of us.
I learned how freeing it is to not claim responsibility for what is not mine to claim. Really!
It was fun telling the officer to give the ticket to Dave, but it was more fun knowing it wasn’t mine to claim. I think we all know what Dave learned, as evidenced by up-to-date inspection stickers on every single one of our vehicles.