22 ON FILM Sarah Bradley

NZ Today - - FRONT PAGE -

Well per­haps that isn’t strictly true. I was just pulled over by a po­lice of­fi­cer with sirens go­ing for the first time. In fact, that is not en­tirely true ei­ther, I was pulled over for speed­ing around a hun­dred years ago when I lived in the United States, but I will get to that. I just got pulled over for the first time in New Zealand, by a po­lice car with flash­ing sirens. So scary.

Now, I have got speed­ing tick­ets be­fore, but only those hor­ri­ble ones where the speed cam­era gets you and you just hope the flash you have seen, isn’t in fact a pic­ture be­ing taken of you, but maybe the sun just speed­ing be­hind a power pole. Deep down in your heart how­ever, you know that it was the flash of the cam­era and you (or your ex who’s car you are driv­ing) are about to get one of those $80 fines in the mail. I liken it to rip­ping up four $20 bills; just heart­break­ing and for noth­ing.

Back to the sirens and be­ing pulled over. I was in my fa­ther’s eggshell-blue MG BGT. It is a very old car and I didn’t even think it was ca­pa­ble of speed­ing (well of course that is what I told the of­fi­cer). He was young, with a beard and quite good look­ing, but had had a quadru­ple senseof-hu­mour by­pass. Not a smile was cracked in spite of me des­per­ately try­ing to flut­ter my eye­lashes. He wasn’t hav­ing a bar of it. He asked me if there was any rea­son I was speed­ing. I didn’t look preg­nant, so I couldn’t try that ex­cuse. I couldn’t say I was dis­tracted be­cause I was try­ing to fol­low di­rec­tions on my TomTom GPS de­vice, be­cause I thought that was prob­a­bly not a good look. So I just said, no ex­cuse. He took my li­cense and was gone for about 15 min­utes. I had left him with a com­ment that of course my record would be spot­less. Af­ter a while though, I started pan­ick­ing. Maybe I had done some­thing ter­ri­ble and against the law and even been to prison. Maybe I had just erased it from my mem­ory be­cause of the trauma.

Even­tu­ally, he re­turned, handed me the ticket and then was off with only a

‘Drive safely’ as he turned away. Phew, he didn’t find out about my sor­did past. I paid the ticket within 24 hours.

Let me fin­ish with my Amer­i­can speed­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It was many years ago in up­state New York when I was work­ing for a lo­cal tele­vi­sion sta­tion called WRNN. I used to drive 60 miles each way to work from my home in Westch­ester County. I got pulled over in the mid­dle of nowhere for speed­ing in my Dodge Neon. In the weird­est turn of af­fairs, the of­fi­cer told me, ‘Here is your ticket, but if you go to evening court in such and such town on the fol­low­ing date and say your speedo was bro­ken, you will get off.’ So I went along to the court and I did get off. I felt like I was in one of those Coen brothers’ movies. Very weird and you couldn’t get away with that here.

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