I have a close friend, we'll call her "Kristanne", shared a story with me that I found to be hilarious, terrifying, and serendipitous all at once. Here is the email version of the story. Enjoy the recapitulation, and pardon the PG-rated language.
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so im driving home from church...about 8 blocks from home -- turned right on red. now, i know im not SUPPOSE to turn right on red at this intersection because there is a sign stating this very thing -- "NO RIGHT TURN ON RED" and the two cars ahead of me did it -- NOT THAT IT JUSTIFIES IT -- but i was just mindlessly driving home, following the flow of traffic. i see a police officer flip a u-turn in the middle of the intersection and pop on his lights, pulling me over. WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?! come on, seriously?
he approaches my window and i was ready for the "can you read the sign, miss" speech, but instead:
"ma'am can i have that open bottle of wine from your front seat?"
i turn --look -- in my mind "the WHAT?! i dont have.... oh shit....the COMMUNION WINE!" i say "yes, sir" as i hand it over. now...i dont EVER argue/make up stories to police officers, just "yes, sir/ma'am" them until my ticket is written and i go on my way....BUT this time, hello -- i cant just let him think that i have an open container!!!!!!! so, i say "sir, i know this is going to sound like a made up story, but i am just coming from church and this is the left over communion wine from church." (as completely truly honest that was, it was 2 buck chuck, so i was certain he wasnt gonna buy it).
he responds: "i need your id, registration and insurance."
my internal dialogue "oh shit im going to jail, losing my job...oh no oh no!!"
officer: "do you have a pen?"
me: "no, just a pencil" (turns out it was one of those fat yellow kindergarten pencils that had somehow made it from my classrooom to my car).
officer: "well find a pen soon and sign the back of your registration card so that its valid and you dont get a ticket for it."
me (interally): got it, check.
he places the open bottle of wine on the ROOF of my car and walks away. mind you, i am 8 blocks from home and so im certain there were plenty of neighborhood folk passing by...cop lights on, open wine on me roof, and little ol me sitting in the drivers seat.
**meanwhile, i text the pastor -- "pulled over. open bottle of communion wine in my front seat. shit." no response. i thought maybe id luck out and she could show up and "testify" on my behalf. well then again, if she did show up (a 6 foot, beautiful, long black hair, tatooed from shoulder to foot woman), the cop would most likely respond with "nice, you are who? where did you get that costume?" so......im thinking -- should i get her one the phone? ah!!! hes coming back.
officer: where do you work?
me: _ _ _ elementary school
officer: what do you do there?
me: i teach kindergarten.......
officer: where do you go to church?
me: uh, well....its this new emerging church....its lutheran.
officer: oh, thats a good choice. but lets talk a little bit about your bad choices.
me (internal): 1 -- sweet!! hes lutheran too!! 2 -- oh seriously, are you giving me the good choice/bad choice talk? this is what i do with 5 year olds all day.
he proceeds to lay into me about open container laws, how --- at the very least -- i could lose my job, etc. etc. then he hands the yellow carbon copied paper through my window "and your second bad choice is that you turned right on red in a posted no right on red turn and thats what this $86 ticket is for. i realize that 2 cars before you did it, but i had to bust somebody." he explains my court date, that i can appeal, blah blah. and then (drum roll please) he takes the bottle of wine off the roof of my car and and hands it back to me with the words "do something with this".
WHAT?!?! YOU do something with this!
officer: pull over to this gas station and dump it out, stash it in your back seat, hide it, something....but dont leave it in your front seat where we can see it." got it, check.
he sends me on my way after my sigh of relief and a "thanks for believing my honesty" comment.
i pulled over in at the gas station, hid it in my back seat, drove home the remaining 8 blocks, and popped that cork as soon as i walked in the door and finished the bottle. (for all of you worried about the theology of communion, it was the UNconsecrated wine, thats why i was taking it home...)
needless to say i am actually grateful for the right on red ticket rather than having to deal with all the other potential drama of a kindergarten teacher having an open bottle of wine in the car. guess having the offering and the extra bulletins in my front seat where helpful.