Dutifully, I found an exit ramp and a wide shoulder, stopped and awaited my fate. A state trooper creeped up to the passenger side of my car and freaked out my wife by tapping on her window.
He asked for “the license for the driver,” which I thought was an odd way to put it; but we quickly produced my license, plus the car registration and proof of insurance. The young trooper sized up the middle-aged couple he was detaining and quickly took on a friendly demeanor. He told me he pulled me over because I had changed lanes without using a turn signal.
Later, he admitted he was amused by “the look of shock” on my face. I told him as we laughed that I wasn’t shocked at why he pulled me over; I was shocked because this kind of thing had happened to me several times in Texas and I had never gotten a ticket.
I told him I understood what he was doing, but I just had to know what it is about a middle aged white guy in a black SUV that compels law enforcement officers of all levels in Texas to find a lame excuse to pull me over. He admitted I was driving “too carefully,” if you can believe that. I guess all the drug mules on the interstates and federal highways try really hard to follow the letter of the traffic laws. He also said he noticed out of state plates. This made no sense to me, since we were in a county contiguous to Louisiana, but okay.
We told the trooper we appreciated what he was doing as we wished him well and advised him to be careful. Then, he asked the question I’ve been asked by county cops, municipal officers, and now a state trooper: “What are you doing in Texas?” Here I must admit that part of my brain always wants to say, “It’s none of your business what I’m doing in Texas and as far as I know I can drive through any state in the U.S. without have to declare my intentions to law enforcement, a**hole.” But, obviously I wouldn’t do that. He was a very nice young guy just doing a job and I truly do wish him well. I want him to catch the bad guys. Still, part of me worries about the slippery slope of being asked that kind of question. I mean, I don’t think he was making small talk. As much as I travel in Texas, It’s a virtual certainty I will get pulled over again for some minor violation. When asked, I will state my business.
The answer, by the way, was “We were hauling supplies to our daughter at TCU.” We did the one-day turnaround to Ft. Worth with all the stuff that would not fit in her car last weekend.
We caught a real break, too. The long string of 100 degree days came to an end.
With an intermittent drizzle and a heavy cloud cover, the temperature did not rise above 85 degrees while we were unloading the suspicious SUV and moving various apartment furnishings into our daughter’s new digs.
She went with us to a great Tex-Mex restaurant where I enthusiastically overate. Later, I actually took a nap in her room while she and her mother did a little organizing. Then, after we had been there about five hours, she was ready for us to go.
The last words she said to me were “Go home, Dad.” This was after we had said our good-byes, but she shouted at me through her window when she spotted me taking photos.
That’s okay. We’ll be back in three weeks or so for the start of football season. We’ll have to drive over again on I-20. Maybe that time I won’t be so careful. I might drive 70!
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