Police artwork

Well, if finally happened. I got pulled over by a Philomath police officer last night.

It was actually a quite impressive maneuver by this particular officer. I had just gotten out of a Philomath School Board meeting at around 8:45 p.m. and was headed to the Human Bean to try to wake up a little bit for the drive home (no offense, school board, I don't mean to imply your meeting put me to sleep; I was on the tail end of my second straight 14-hour work day).

Anyway, while heading east on Applegate Street, I noticed a Philomath police car driving north on South 19th Street. I thought to myself, "I bet he pulls me over" because I have a headlight out on my car. I had gone to Jiffy Lube in an attempt to get it fixed quickly during a busy stretch but they told me it wasn't the headlight, it was the wiring. So it was something that I had to put off until the weekend.

When I went to take a lefthand turn onto South 19th, there he was, sitting in an alleyway or driveway or something. I took a right to try to get to the Human Bean before they closed at 9, but the lights went on. On the drive home, I actually was thinking to myself how silly I must've sounded. Talking to police officers in those conditions have always stressed me out and I fumble through answers to their questions despite the fact that I know I'm not really in trouble for anything.

Thankfully, the encounter only lasted a couple of minutes and I was able to secure my caffeine from the Human Bean. My mother-in-law, who lives in Arizona, actually called the Human Bean in Philomath and purchased me a $40 gift card for my birthday. I had picked it up earlier in the day and it was burning a hole in my pocket.

Another thing I was thinking about on the drive home involved the very first speeding ticket I had ever received. I was probably about 23 years old and working as a sports writer for the Grand Island Independent, a daily in central Nebraska. One night, I was covering a basketball game at a rural school and it went into double or triple overtime, a ridiculously long game. Needless to say, I really needed to get back to the office quickly afterward to make deadline.

Out in the middle of nowhere zooming past cornfield after cornfield after 10 p.m., I'll admit that I was driving over the speed limit. There were no other cars in sight ahead of me or behind me. Then all of a sudden, I saw the lights in my rear-view mirror. I couldn't believe it. I angrily pulled over to the side of the road as fast as I could and then had to wait for the ticket to be written.

I remember trying to talk my way out of it and I think I recall the guy even had a son playing in the basketball game I had just covered. But his team lost and so did I on the ticket conversation.

I actually asked my boss if I could write that off as a business expense, but that wasn't going to happen. As for the deadline, I think we were late that night and I only had enough time to crank out a short version of the story.

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