I was on the way to the grocery store and everything came to a screeching halt. I live in a one red light town which meant the train on the other end of town had dropped the bars and nothing was moving until the train passed on through. Or there was an accident.
My cell phone was not ringing so that ruled out an accident and no matter how hard I l, I listened I could not hear the train. Something was seriously wrong for sure.
By the time I started and stopped three times there were as many cars behind me as there were in front of my red Chevy, and there was no way to back up and take the back streets to the grocery store.
Finally I could see the familiar red, white and blue flashing lights. Good lord! Someone must have blown up the cell phone tower because there had been an accident. That’s the only way that every phone in town was not buzzing. Great Uncle Moe has a police scanner and he lets his wife, Aunt Hilda, know the minute there’s an accident. She’s got the numbers of all her buddies taped to the front of the ‘fridge and they’ve got the next line of gossip offense tapped to theirs. It takes less than one minute for every one in town to know about an accident.
Half an hour later, the car in front of me made it to the front of the line. By this time I was expecting to be waved over into one line of traffic while they cleaned up glass and car parts. The policeman checked to see if she was wearing a seat belt so I slyly fastened mine. Then he asked for license and registration and she rifled around in her glove compartment for-evvvv-er!
Then it was my turn.
“Routine seat belt and insurance check,” the policeman said.
Seat belt was on and insurance papers were in the glove compartment. No problem!
I opened the glove compartment and enough stuff tumbled out to fill a good sized garbage bag. Leftover napkins from the last time we stopped by a fast food drive through, a couple of packages of half eaten donuts (those little chocolate ones), six tubes of lip gloss that had melted and frozen several times and papers of all sizes, including receipts from stores from the past five years.
“Sorry, Officer. I promise I did not steal these extra napkins. They always give you too many at the drive through.”
He glared at me.
I picked up the remains of two fortune cookies. They were so old they fell apart in my hand.
“Sorry, Officer. But this one does say that today is my lucky day.”
This time I got a sigh but at least he didn’t put his hand on that big gun slung on his hip.
The insurance form was supposed to be in a yellow envelope marked “Insurance” in big bold letters on the outside. Nothing to finding something that distinctive, right? No problem! I found it and opened it to find forms for 2003-2014 but nothing for 2015.
“Sorry, Officer. It must be stuck in there somewhere. Give me a minute.”
His hand looked like it might be going toward the gun.
I found a package of vacation pictures from twenty years ago, a chocolate candy bar that was only half eaten and two of those miniature donuts that could probably be misconstrued as a weapon of lethal destruction.
Then right there on the bottom of everything, stuck to the lining of the glove compartment was the right insurance form. It only had a greasy stain in the middle, but hey, the dates were still clear. And they don’t put people in jail for defacing an insurance form, do they?
He took one look at it and waved me on. I checked the rear view when the gray haired lady behind me took my place. The policeman checked the seat belt and evidently she had the same problem I did because he threw his hands up in the air, took down the road block and motioned all the cars on through. I guess her glove compartment was even worse than mine. She did give me the thumbs up sign as she pulled on around and passed me. I recognized her as one of Aunt Hilda’s buddies and waved. And that’s when my cell phone rang. It was Aunt Hilda telling me to take the back roads to the grocery store. She would have called sooner but Uncle Moe had been taking a nap.