One Friday evening, Laura and I were sitting at the coffee shop and decided we needed to go to Wal-mart. Instead of going to our “normal Wal-mart” we need a change of scenery and headed to the other one relatively equidistant from here as the normal one. Except this one is over state lines. One the return trip, we crossed back into the proper state and less than a mile down the road was a group of police officers stopping every single car both entering and leaving the state. The car three in front of us was asked to pull over. The following two cars were allowed to continue on. We were asked to wait while a car at the cross road was checked. The police officer was kind enough to turn his flashlight off so he didn’t blind us as he stood next to our car preventing us from continuing our journey home.
When he returned, he requested Laura’s drivers’ license. I asked if he wanted mine, too, and he said only if Laura was driving with a permit. Of course, because she looks like she’s under 16. And I look like I’m several years old than she is. Clearly the police officer’s did not have any age-guessing perspicacity but that’s ok. He took Laura’s license and commented about where she was from: neither the state we had just left nor the state we had just entered, nor any other state bordering the two aforementioned states. He guessed she was here for education and she quickly gave the name of our school, less than ten minutes up the road. He handed her license back to her and said we were free to go.
The entire way back to campus, Laura and I brain stormed possibilities for the random security check point. We came up with everything from boredom to being worried about an alien attack (just kidding… but only a little). Our best guess was that they were preventing someone from entering or leaving the state. However, that did not explain why they only wanted Laura’s license and not mine. I admitted I had hoped they wanted mine so they could be completely confused as to why we represented two different states half-way across the country, neither of which were the two we were driving between. She admitted she wanted to be pulled over so she could inquire about the situation. We then imagined the two of us being asked to walk a straight line. Both completely sober: she’d fall over and I’d stumble and bumble my way through. As the flair says, “We’re not clumsy, we’re uniquely coordinated.”
Unique is one word for the night. I’d seen similar security check points in Mexico but never had to stop at one because I was a tourist on a big flashy bus. We did have to stop in the taxi when the taxi driver had to stop and prove he was really a certified taxi driver. That was reassuring to know since he spoke minimal English and I was not in the mood to translate and conjugate all in an attempt to communicate.
The only other time Laura had ever had to stop like that is when she drove over the border into Canada. She said today—all two minutes of it—was more of a shebang than that was.
We later learned there had been a strange car accident in the same spot a little while earlier (actually, we saw the repercussions of it on our way to Wal-mart). Luckily no one was injured (to my knowledge), but it is suspected that our police stop was a DUI check point. Good thing we decided against buying the beer at Wal-mart! (Just kidding… about contemplating to buy it, that is). Neither Laura nor I had ever gone through anything like that before, but Amber said she gets stopped for that all the time. Personally, I think it was a bit early for a DUI check point and those police officers should wait until bar time but that’s just me.
No spiritual connection at the moment. However, I do present to you a new vocabulary word:
Pusillanimous is an adjective meaning lacking courage, unmanly, fearful, and spineless.
Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter is a pusillanimous character.
Check out the other stories in “Adventures of Katie and Laura” series:
Part One: Getting lost in a one stop-light town
Part Two: playing Marco Polo at the nursing home
Part Three: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
"Be still, and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10a