Hey y’all! I thought I’d share this funny, little tale that happened to me at a DWI Checkpoint earlier tonight on my way home from the store. So there I am, I pull up to the stop, and I roll down my window…you know. Anyhow, this is how the conversation went.
Officer: “Evening, Miss. Have you had anything to drink tonight?”
Officer: “Are you sure?” (as he shines his flashlight on the pile of glow sticks sitting on the passenger seat that I’d just bought for my final photo project on light painting)
Me: “If I consumed any alcoholic beverage? Yeah, pretty sure. No.”
Officer: “What do you plan to do with all those, then?” (meaning the glow sticks) “Are you going to a rave?”
Me: “Do they have those in Tennessee? Uh, no. They’re for a photo project.”
Officer: “And how old are you, miss?” (As I hand him my NY license)
Officer: “Is this real? You don’t look 27.”
Me: (Totally amused at this point) “Um, thank you?”
Officer: (Stares at me for a sec, looks back at the license, smirks, then hands it back): “Alright, well good luck with your photo project. Have a good night, miss. Drive safe.”
Oh yes, that happened. Only to me. I swear, one of these days this mouth of mine is gonna land me in a jail cell. 🙂
**Disclaimer: Don’t get me wrong, driving under the influence is not a laughing matter, at all. My sharing my amusement with this particular conversation with a police officer isn’t intended to insinuate otherwise. Driving while Intoxicated or Under The Influence is a big problem in this country, I get that. Believe me, I do. I can still remember the night my best friend got stopped and arrested for DWI…and it definitely wasn’t a laughing matter. We were young and stupid and reckless….and underage. It was one of those stupid choices you make when you’re a teenager and you think that you’re completely invincible. We’d had a fun weekend night out with a few other friends, consumed way too much alcohol, and were on our way home at the time. Honestly, it was such a long time ago, but I don’t think the Bestie was even all that drunk really. I think the cops pulling her over had more to do with the fact that she had “Happy 20th Birthday” painted on the back window (she’d celebrated her birthday earlier in the week), and was paying more attention to texting the guy she was hanging out with at the time than she was on the actual road. Not that that’s an excuse or anything. It definitely wasn’t how we expected the night would end though, that’s for sure. It sucked. I mean, I was pretty trashed–not gonna lie–but I can still remember looking out the back window and having to watch my best friend get arrested, handcuffed, and put in the back of a police cruiser. What’s even worse is that the officer that arrested her was with a friend of both of ours, who happened to be riding along as an officer-in-training that night. That sucked. And the “suck” didn’t end there. After the bestie was taken away in the back of one of the police cars, another officer in a 2nd cruiser came and knocked on my window, ordering me to get out of the car. Like I said, I was trashed…so I wasn’t really in any kind of cooperating mood…more like a combative one. Let’s just say, I did not want to get out of that car…which the officer did not appreciate at all. Eventually I did get out and he put me in the back of the 2nd car. I wasn’t under arrest or anything, he was just driving me back to the station. Although “driving” was a loosely relative term for that ride. Speed-racing is more like it. No joke. He literally drove 80 mph the majority of the way back–on a 55 mph highway, I might add. Even after we got into the village–which is 30 mph–he was still doing like 50 mph…so not cool. Yeah. And what’s EVEN WORSE–he was on a cellphone ordering a freakin’ calzone WHILE he was driving. Again–drunk me–felt the need to repeatedly point out that he was breaking the law by speeding and for being on the cellphone…and I might have said something along the lines of him being a police officer didn’t make him above the law…yeah. He DEFINITELY didn’t like that. He was literally like “Miss, I want you to be quiet until we get to the station. Not a word.” Again…yeah. The guy was a douche. Big time. When we got to the station–which was nothing short of a miracle with his driving, if you ask me–the Bestie was getting out of the cruiser and being led into the station. I asked to go with her, and they were real jerks about it, telling me I had to stay outside until she was released. They wouldn’t even let me wait inside…and did I mention it was pretty damn chilly that night? Yeah. Real @$$holes they were. I ended up calling my sister, and she came and waited with me for well over an hour or so until they finally released the Bestie. You can bet our night was definitely ruined. More so obviously for my friend, considering she got her license suspended and ticketed and “arbitrarily” fined and well, a whole lot of unnecessary crap she had to deal with because of it.
While I’m not trying to excuse or justify her decision to drive that night–it was a bad idea and obviously illegal–I do think the cops could’ve given her a little bit of a break that night. For starters, her BAC wasn’t even over the legal limit, but because she was only 20 and New York had a zero tolerance policy for underage driving while alcohol-impaired, they arrested her. If she’d been a year older, she’d have walked away scott-free. Not only that, but we were literally like 3 or so miles from home. Would it really have been such a feat for them to just follow her those 3 short miles and make sure we got home without incident–as many of the cops in town were wont to do on various other occasions. What’s even more messed up is that while my sister and waiting outside the station that night, another kid was brought in for DWI. We overheard the cops talking about it and apparently he’d blown well over the 0.08 BAC mark. But did he get booked for the d-dub? Heck no. They let him go with a warning–no arrest, no charges, no fines…NOTHING–all because he was the son of some local hotshot lawyer. Is that fair? Hell no it isn’t. But that’s our justice system…wonderful, isn’t it? (Cue the heavy sarcasm!)
Anywho, the moral of this story…driving drunk is against the law. You shouldn’t do it. It’s wrong. It’s dangerous–for you, for whomever else happens to be a passenger in your vehicle, and for all the other people that happen to be on the road with you at the time. It’s a proven fact that drunk driving kills. And if I thought the DWI laws were strict all those years ago with the Bestie…they’re a hell of a lot worse now. Still…we’re human. We’re not perfect. We all make mistakes…and unfortunately, sometimes those mistakes end up hurting someone or others and not just us. And sometimes it’s just luck, more than anything. And youth. When you’re young, you think you’re invincible. Untouchable. You think you won’t get caught…until you do. I’m not going to lie, I’ve gotten behind the wheel after I’ve been drinking more times than I can count. I’m not saying it was right, or that I’m proud of it…but I’ve done it. Just as if I’ve gotten in the car with people who are driving that have been drinking. I remember an argument I had with my mother when I was like 19 or something that comes to mind now. She’d seen some local news segment on a drunk driving accident that killed a teenage passenger and the drunk teenage driver of the car whom the community felt should be charged with vehicular manslaughter. My mother I think made some comment on how the dead teen’s family should have forced the police to press charges…how if it were her child that was killed, that’s what she would do. I told her she was wrong and we argued about it, as usual. It’s always been my opinion–popular or not with society–that in cases such as that one, the blame shouldn’t always rest on that of the driver. Yes, that individual chose to get behind the wheel and put people’s lives in jeopardy, but it’s not that simple to just blame the driver and call him/her a murderer. It’s more complicated than that. I know that death and loss makes people see things in a shroud of vindication and retribution. No one wants to blame the victim…that’s just unconscionable. But is it really? I mean, yes, the driver’s to blame, but so is the “victim” who willingly and knowingly got in the vehicle with that individual, probably having been with the individual and participated in the consumption of alcohol beforehand. I mean, I’ve been there. And if I were, godforbid, ever in a situation like that where a friend was driving drunk and I was killed in an accident of sorts, I wouldn’t want my family to blame or seek retribution against my friend. I just wouldn’t. It’s bad enough that the individual will have to live with the guilt of something like that for the rest of their lives. That should be punishment enough, or so one would like to think. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t think that way. Clouded by their grief over having lost someone they love, people think retribution is the answer. That it’ll bring them solace and comfort. That the justice of punishing someone they believe to be responsible will somehow bring them closure. But it won’t. It can’t. Putting someone in jail for however amount of time a judge deems fit isn’t going to change anything. It’s not going to bring back their loved one. It’s not going to lessen the hurt and sorrow. And I can’t speak for anyone else, obviously, but I can say that if it were me, I wouldn’t want to see my friend thrown in jail when I was the one that made the decision to get in the var with them–all the while knowing full well the risks and the possible consequences associated with that decision. And maybe it’s easy for me to say that when I’m not the one who’s lost someone because of a drunk driver…but it’s how I feel. Just saying.
Sorry, didn’t mean to get so off-point…but you know me. I should probably get back to the insanity that is my course-work. Time to break out the glow sticks! 🙂