Three Strikes and You’re Out?

I pulled out of the elementary school parking lot yesterday morning after dropping off the kids. I nodded to the crossing guard and watched my speedometer to make sure I didn’t speed in the school zone. I saw a police SUV parked on the opposite side of the road. As I drove by, he pulled away from the curb, did a U-turn, and turned on his lights as he came up behind me.

You’ve got to be kidding me. I thought. I’m not speeding. I didn’t pull out in front of anyone. Registration and inspection are current. What gives?

Take a deep breath, I responded. It might not be you.

With that, I pulled over, took that deep breath, and held it until the officer went by and pulled over the woman in front of me.

That was close. Silly thoughts. I can barely remember the last time I was pulled over. It was years ago – before my youngest child was born. Why should I let the flashing lights cause my heart to race?

Fast forward to that evening. I dropped the boys off at basketball practice. I had just enough time to pick up a few items from the grocery store, which I did. As I drove away from the store, I saw a line of cars stopped in my lane at a traffic light. The light had been red for awhile so I judged that it would likely turn green just before I got there. Not wanting to wait for the cars to resume their progress, I changed lanes.

Lights immediately began to flash behind me. No way this is for someone else.

I had no response to that. I knew I was right.

With a sigh and a heightened sense of the irony of the situation, I pulled into the next parking lot. When the officer approached, I handed him my license and proof of insurance as he told me what I already knew. I had failed to signal my lane change.

I always use my turn signal. Well, ok. 99.99% of all turns and probably 95% of all lane changes. This seemed patently unfair. And then the thought came: What budget is this ticket going to come out of?

My husband answered that one later: “Your pocket money, of course,” he said. “You screw up – you pay for it.”

Lucky for me, the officer just returned my license and insurance card and encouraged me to use my turn signal next time. Relief.

But isn’t there something about three strikes and you’re out? Maybe I should stay home today. Just in case.