Friday, January 28, 2005

The pigs, the fuzz, the po-lice. Last night at about 10pm, Tash and I went into the city on a postering run for Welcome to the Jumble. It has been such a busy week for us, and we were what my mother would call "over-tired". For some reason, we started talking in shonky Irish accents, which sounds really lame now I'm typing it in the cold light of day, but was richly hilarious at the time. Tash can do Irish Grammar much better than me - I lapse into Pirate. But anyway.

I'd say stuff like "How many posters are we having left?"
Tash counted them. "...Turty-one, turty-two, turty-tree!"
Then after we finished sticking them on the pole at the corner of Little Bourke and Swanston St, Tash said, "Are there any more poles?"
"Let's check on Elizabeth St, to be sure, to be sure," I said.

We got back to the car, and I noticed a couple of milk crates sitting on the street. We decided to pilfer them to use in the jumble sale. Nobody stopped us.
"It's the perfect crime!" Tash crowed.
We were still congratulating each other on the perfection of our crime as we drove along Elizabeth St, Tash loudly singing "Kiss Off" by the Violent Femmes, when we spotted a cop car going in the opposite direction.
"It's the pigs, the fuzz, the po-lice!" said Tash.
We started joking about what we'd do if they stopped us: "Oh hello, officer. What have we been doing tonight? Well, first we did some illegal bill postering and then we stole some milk crates. How has your evening been?"

We knew there was another pole near the Vic Market, so we were cruising looking for a parking spot. "How about just here?" said Tash.
I had just pulled over and turned the engine off when I looked in the rear-vision mirror and noticed it was full of cop-car lights.

Let me just say that my three biggest fears while driving are, in order,

1. Damaging another car.
2. Getting pulled over by the cops.
3. Injuring or killing myself and others.

All I could think was: "They saw the crates in the back seat! Why didn't I put them in the boot!"
We started to have one of those ludicrous, whispered 'let's get our story straight' conversations that only ever takes place while people are waiting for a cop to get out of his car and walk over to the driver's side window. "We'll just say they're from my work," hissed Tash.
"Right, right."

I was starting to sweat like, ahem, a pig.
The cop was young. (Tash said afterwards that I should have gone, "Listen here, young man - don't you know that I'm old enough to be your... older sister?")
"Hello," said the cop, "do you know why I'm stopping you?"
"No," I said innocently.
"Well, your licence plates have come up as stolen."

As you can imagine, it was somewhat of a surprise to be told you've stolen your own car. He took my licence and asked my address, which I accidentally fucked up by saying the street number of my last house with my current street name, because I was so nervous. Then he came back and had a look at my registration sticker, which expired last July. I had the current one in the front of my diary, but the task of putting it on my windscreen had always got away from me. Tash fixed this up while the cop went back to his car, apparently convinced that I was masterminding a sophisticated auto-theft ring specialising in 1985 Camrys. You could call it "Gone in Twenty Minutes".

Then it came to me in a flash what had happened. You see, when I was living on Flemington Rd last year, a car whose license plate started with NWA had rammed the front of my car while retardedly attempting to parallel park. I worked this out thanks to my many years of Law & Order watching, because the burgundy paint embedded in my front bumper matched the scrape of missing burgundy paint on the back bumper of the car. This car had left my front licence plate dangling by one screw, so I tucked a passive-aggressive note under Eazy E's windscreen ("Please do not ram my car. I do not earn very much money and cannot afford to repair it.").

I mentioned this to my housemates. The next day, my housemate called me at work and said, "Hey, you drive a red hatchback, don't you?"
"Yeaaaaah..." I said.
"Dude, I think your licence plates have been stolen!"
So I called up the cops and told them that I thought Eazy E had stolen my licence plates as revenge. But when I got home, I realised that my housemate had got it wrong, because there was another red hatchback parked out the front with no licence plates. I called up the cops and explained the mistake, and we all had a big laugh.

Fast forward to last night. The cops obviously hadn't taken my numberplates off their stolen list. Damn, to think of all the shonky semi-legal things I have done in that car. They didn't even mention the milk crates.

Tash declared that from now on, my car's motto should be "Stolen plates, and plenty of crates!"

That was only the second time I've ever been pulled over by the cops (except for booze buses). The first time was about a week after I got my licence. I was going to a party and you have no idea how much I had to beg my parents to be allowed to drive. My mother was all "You've only just got your licence!" and I was like, "Well, this is exactly why I got my licence!"

Anyway, so they finally gave me the keys to the Volvo. Not the sedan that didn't go backwards (oh, the stories I could tell!) because someone else had gone out in it, but the station wagon that made a horrible squealing noise whenever I braked. Problem was, my P-plates were in the other Volvo. But my mother wouldn't let me drive without P-plates. So, in a fit of pique, I made some P-plates from bits of paper by drawing a big P and colouring in around it with a texta. But I couldn't find a red texta, so I used hot pink.

I was giving someone older and more sophisticated, who I wanted to impress, a lift home from the party, and I was really embarrassed about the brakes squealing, so I would do little bunny hops on the brake to minimise the noise. Anyway, I bunny-hopped through a stop sign while turning left onto a main road. One minute later, a cop car started doing that little abortive siren thing they do when they want to pull you over.

The cop was a big beefy ocker. "Do you know why I'm pulling you over?" he drawled.
"Um, I don't know," I said. I didn't want to mention the squealing brakes in case he booked me for driving an unroadworthy car.
The cop looked thoughtful. "I would describe your driving," he said, "as ordinary."
After a few minutes of lecturing me, he spoke to his offsider, a younger cop. "Is she displaying P-plates?"
The younger cop pondered my handiwork, unsure how to answer. "Ummm, yes."

For at least a couple of months after that, I stopped diligently at every stop sign I came to. Didn't last long, though.

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