22 ON FILM Sarah Bradley
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.