Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's A Fair Cop

A Very Nice Mountie

Dearest Friends, our family's downward slide into criminality continues. You may recall Dearest Father-Out-Law's brush with the Mounties back in October. Well, it is with a heavy heart that I must report my own descent into lawlessness. Yes, in one brief, fleeting moment I was transformed from a staid, respectable, family man into Gangsta FiL. Here is my sorry tale...

I had just dropped off Little Man at home after his regular Saturday swimming lesson. My intention had been to run a few errands on the way, but his sporadic breakfast cough was becoming increasingly persistent cough and told me that he was probably not up to the task. I also felt a wee bit of guilt begin to gnaw away, asking me whether sending him off to swim today had been wise. So with Dearest Wife's imperative to return in less than an hour so she could take Darling Daughter off to ballet, I jumped into the Golden Pimpwagon and took off.

As I tooled down the road, I mulled over all I needed to do: pick up an ink cartridge, find a Chrimbo prezzie for my mother, order a ham at the butcher for Christmas dinner, and fill up the car with petrol. A quick glance at the clock told me I could do it all, if I hurried. Then I got a bit annoyed - hurry, hurry hurry. I hate hurrying. I hate hurrying particularly on the weekend. And doubly so during the holiday season. Hadn't I told myself that I wasn't going to let myself be forced to hurry this year? Irritation grew, and to top it all off that nasty provocateur Julian Cope was egging me on with his popular beat combo music on the stereo. My foot grew heavy on the accelerator, and then, off the the right...

A policeman. Waving me down. Telling me to pull over.

"Good morning sir, you were doing over 100 kilometers in an 80 kilometer zone. May I please see your driver's license and registration?"

I waited on the shoulder while the cop checked my details back in his squad car. I sweated, thinking about the five keys of blow I had in the spare tire, the unlicensed Glock 9mm in the glove compartment, and the endangered Golden Lion Tamarin under the front seat. But I really started to tremble when I thought of my mp3 player - that unauthorized Yo La Tengo track alone would get me five years in maximum security...

Alright, so yet again I exaggerate. No blow, no Glock, no protected, tiny monkeys, and no Yo la Tengo (whew!). Just an embarrassed, mad-at-himself FiL.

The cop returned. He was ever so nice about it all; he gave me the lowest fine he could ($138, reduced by $25 if paid within 30 days), and didn't even feel the need to lecture me. As I pulled away nice and slow, he bagged another miscreant with his radar gun.

Sitting in the Staples carpark, I spent a few minutes trying to stop feeling so stupid. I asked myself what was I supposed to learn from this episode, apart from the obvious "Obey the speed limit." What it came down to was that despite my self-entreaties to chill out, I had become caught up in the hectic frenzy of the season. I had let myself get frazzled and irritated, and had paid for it. Indeed, I thought, this was a lesson that went beyond Christmas.

Having somewhat regained my equilibrium, I proceeded with my errands. Though I didn't manage to fill up the car or get a present for Mum, I did stick to the speed limit.

And I felt a whole lot calmer for it.

Lightnin' Hopkins - You're Too Fast (buy here or e-here)
Nouvelle Vague - Guns of Brixton (buy here )
Grandmaster Flash - White Lines (buy here)
Clinic - Monkey on My Back (buy here )
Classix Nouveaux - Guilty (buy here)

And as a bonus, here's the sublime Copey track that I tried to blame for pushing me over the edge: Julian Cope - An Elegant Chaos (buy here)

In this elegant chaos / I stand to one side / Shouting 'Ha!'