Yes, Officer?

The other day on the tram I was just sitting there looking aimlessly about the place (like you do) and then I noticed that, as the tram stopped, and the doors started to close, there was this guy. His eyes darting, he made a move for the exit. The doors remained shut. He stood there. Looking extremely guilty. Other than noticing his fly was undone (unfortunately I happened to be at that level (ha)), I didn’t really think much of it.

Until, behind me there loomed some shadow. Charcoal grey pants came into view, a bumbag almost knocked me sideways and I heard the distinctive ‘CAN I CHECK YOUR TICKET PLEASE?!’

Shit man.

I fumbled around in my bag, furiously wondering whether I had remembered to validate my ticket, and hoping I had a full-fare one in my reach (no more concession for me, bastards, and perhaps a reason to get back to study hmm hmm?) and pulled out the first tram ticket I had. I handed it to the lady. She gave me a quizzical look.

The date on the ticket I had given her said 08 October 2008. Oops.

(and yes, I should clear out my wallet)

I did manage to find the right one though so no fine for me. It was just that initial: ‘omg-what-have-I-done-wrong?!’ moment which threw me. I figured there couldn’t be alot I had done wrong; I was not occupying some old person seat, I was not blocking anyone with my ‘giant bag’, I didn’t have my feet on the seats etc, but still they instilled some fear. Some fear that made me wonder whether there was anything they could catch me up on.

I think also that anything associated with the police or other people wearing uniforms makes my heart beat that little bit faster.

Booze busses especially.

My first ever breath test happened to be after a huge night out and I was driving home from uni along beach road. It had been a decent 15 or so hours since I had stopped drinking, but as they waved me in I was rather nervous. I think I rambled on so much to the police lady that she actually thought I had been drinking, despite the all clear on my test.

(Me, rambling away to strangers? As if!)

I can’t help it though. WHAT IF there happens to be some alcohol in my system despite the fact i haven’t had anything to drink? And what could be worse? And considering they more than likely test for both alcohol and drugs, must I also hope I haven’t eaten any poppy seed rolls, or driven past a marijuana plantation, or fallen on a heroin needle, or mistaken my multivitamin for something stronger, or gotten too close to white powder on a toilet seat (shit, all of that sounds rather dangerous. Exciting but dangerous (lol))

I think this fear happens just because of the threat of punishment. This doesn’t result in jail time, does it? But a monetary fine I cannot afford. And I love ‘my’ car too. I think the ‘am I doing anything wrong?’ will always cross my mind.

Am I speeding? (and if so, could I claim my brakes weren’t working in my shiny car because I was on cruise control, and therefore have them chase me down the freeway as I make alarming calls to anyone who will listen?).

Do I have my seatbelt on correctly? Are all my lights working? (hopefully they won’t notice if it is in the day). Is my mobile phone anywhere near me at all? (mental note, close my inbox)

But this time (at least), I was not doing anything wrong. I was not twittering away before I crashed into the corner shop. I wasn’t trying to do my hair, or fiddling with my chair, or even trying to read my map but didn’t stop…


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April 2010
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