License and Registration Please.

Vacation. It’s supposed to be fun, relaxing, adventurous. But last summer, the annual getaway to our cabin in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania was far from a great experience, especially when it started out with “license and registration please?”

Cruising down the 11-15 highway with my best friend Sarah Conner, the day was perfect.

Our bodies were surviving off of a pure sugar high from the previous night. Sleepovers tend to have that effect.

The music blasted from the speakers and the trees were a fuzzy TV screen as we zoomed past all the brightly colored landscape. And then it happened.

Christa Charles.

I see him pull out. The lights go on. “Please don’t be me!”

The state trooper drifts into the other lane.

“YES! It’s not me!”

But then he motions me in the mirror to pull off to the side. My stomach starts churning and my eyes well up with tears.

“Oh man. My parents are going to kill me. I’ll never be able to drive again! They’re going to take my car!”

It takes an eternity to roll down my window and the sound of the car’s four-ways has become exponentially louder. It’s more than I can take.

“Do you realize how fast you were going little girl? License and registration please.”

The tall, intimidating man watches the tears roll like ocean waves down my cheeks and looks at me like I’m a complete idiot, turns around and marches back to his car.

Minutes later he returns with a piece of white paper crowded with print and information. It looked like a document the FBI might have on a criminal. All my information gathered after a few clicks of the mouse on his in-car computer.

The officer also kindly had mentioned he called my parents. What a life ruin-er! I just wanted to smack him.

“Like, HELLO? Are you STUPID!? Do you KNOW what my parents will do to me? You’re making more work for yourself Mr. Cop Man. You might get a child abuse call later.” But I decided to keep my thoughts in my head so I didn’t commit another offense.

He explained what to do with the ticket and said that I had 10 days to reply. Guilty or not guilty. I knew I was guilty but I was in no mood to admit it. He caught me.

I was ready to get out of there. My eyes were still watering and Sarah was sitting there with nothing to say. She was still processing what was going on.

“Do you even KNOW her?” the trooper looked at her and asked.

Sarah didn’t reply. She blankly stared at him as if he had eaten some crazy flakes for breakfast.

This day could not get any worse. This guy needed to go away. He’s messed up my vacation enough and he was overstaying his window-side welcome. This was NOT the McDonald’s drive-thru, and I certainly wasn’t there to take his order.

He finally said his goodbyes and wished us well on our way but left me with one statement as he walked away that I will never forget.

“We’re not the big bad wolf you know.”

By Christa Charles