So last weekend we went to visit E’s stepdad in Birmingham, and along the way, E is driving 78 in a 70 and gets pulled over. Now we’ve just gotten our hot Matrix out of the shop after the big crashup, and she’s not exactly flying. But the cop pulls us over, saunters up to the side and says he’s from the Hattiesburg PD and pulled us over because we were speeding.
Well, here’s the deal. We still hadn’t registered the car in LA and weren’t sure we had the insurance papers, so we were all scrambling around trying to track that stuff down, so when the cop comes up the side of the car, he says, “Sure is a lot of moving around in here.” Whatever. My default, much against my activistic impulses, is to comply and defer whenever cops are around (busted at 17 with beer, I was grateful while my friends were pissed when the cop elected to pour it all out, rather than haul us to jail and call our parents). Here, I thought we were being hassled, but I really didn’t–and still don’t–know what our rights were.
Long story less long, they took E back to the car and quizzed her about our relationship and where we were going and why and why we still had TX tags…, and then they came up and asked us the same questions to make sure the storied matched. They did, but they still asked us if we had anything in the car that “we should know about.” “You mean something illegal?” I asked. “Anything we should know about.” “No.” “Then you won’t mind if we have the dog sniff around; your wife said it would be ok.” “No problem.” “Just don’t make any sudden movements.”
Whatever. Obviously, we didn’t have anything (good thing E’s mom wasn’t with us and her typical stash of brownies), and although E’s brother looks like a dealer he’s the cleanest of the lot, we got off with a warning and a story.
So now E’s worried that our new car will attract random searches, and we all have a greater appreciation for the hassles that minorities deal with everytime they get pulled over.