Sunday, January 20, 2013

Driving Grandpa

My wife and I elected to spend some time in Dallas.  We had intended to rent a car while there but our college age grandson offered his car.  Now this is a typical college car, meaning that the hood is one color, the left front quarter panel another, and the right another color altogether--quite a fashion statement for an aging grandparent.  Of course the back seat is filled with used gym equipment and clothes while the floor looks like the remains of a fast food tasting bonanza.  Still this was low cost transportation generously offered by our grandson. 

I needed to go shopping so I wheel out of the driveway and onto the busy street leading to the market.  I go about a hundred yards when the dreaded flashing lights come on.  I pull over and fish out my driver’s license.  The nice young policeman – looking and acting very professional – asks me for my driver’s license, which I give to him.  He looks at it, then at me, then the car, and then the humiliating pile of trash in the back seat – says with stunning clarity – you’re from Michigan?  YES – I reply with friendly enthusiasm trying to distract him from asking what I would be doing in a car like this.  Then the dreaded question of “Can I see your proof of insurance and registration ?”   Using my most disarming smile I explain that this is my grandson’s car but I’ll check.  I open the glove box and it is stuffed with napkins, papers, wrappers, and as far as I can tell newspaper clippings from the Titanic disaster.  Nevertheless, I make a heroic effort of rummaging through the pile of debris but clearly testing the officer’s patience.  After a period of nanoseconds to me and glacial ages to him, he says “fergetaboutit”.  What’s your grandson’s name?  I give him the name explaining that he is in college in Oklahoma. 

At this point the officer retires to his cruiser and returns with more questions.  Where did you say your grandson is?  Oklahoma I reply.  If he is in Oklahoma why does the car have Texas License Plates?  His parents live in Texas I said.  OH – Whose car is it?  His? I say in my most suspicious voice.  The officer then asks me who owns the car?  Of course at this point I have no idea and honestly reply – I don’t know.  During this exchange the officer is carefully cataloguing everything in the backseat.  Finally, he says” Your registration is expired – did you know that?  At this point I have visions of being arrested for a stolen vehicle.  Before I can respond he also points out that the inspection sticker is not only expired, it expired two years previously.  I can only explain that this isn’t my car, I don’t know who owns it, I don’t know how my grandson got it, I’m innocent!!

The nice young officer clearly can see that I am just a grandfather totally confused by modern society and asks – “Do you know why I stopped you?”  Before I can say “grand theft auto” he says “your brake light is out – you need to get that fixed.  He simply laughs and returns to his cruiser.  I complete my errand and return the car.  As I exit the car the bumper falls off!!  Maybe a car rental was a better idea.

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