Monday, 23 September 2013

no need for speed

police car
My last blog post included a reference to the movie Paul, which is a science fiction comedy about an ET character meeting two Brits whilst they are on an Extraterrestrial Trail holiday in a camper van.

There's a part where they meet a local Sheriff and he asks them about the UK policemen and the lack of guns. It's done for humour but also reminds me of my recent brush with US law enforcement when travelling slightly above the 25 mph speed limit in a small town. The lights from the powerful policecar filled the mirror and were like a space ship was landing behind us.

We pulled over and my out of state plates showed we were not from around these parts even before I opened my British mouth.

The shadowy police car with its re-inforced front bumper and row of red, white and blue flashing lights set the scene and the fella questioning me made sure to tell me I was being recorded.

In England we'd get out of the car, but here I asked first, and then had to fiddle around in the trunk to find the relevant paperwork. I noticed that as I did this, the Sheriff appeared to be resting his hand on his gun holster.

I found the documents, explained that we'd got lost and asked him if he knew the route we needed.

He didn't, although after he could see we were slightly hapless tourists, his attitude became very helpful and he commented that it was the first British driving licence he'd ever seen. It's fair to say we were only marginally over the speed limit and I think the effect of pulling us over right in the middle of the small town had a major effect on the local population, who would indeed think twice before edging towards 30 mph.

Suitably admonished, but also after shaking hands with the now smiling Sheriff, we made our way back into the area known as "lost".

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