Ticketed for driving like a wild tiger | AspenTimes.com

Ticketed for driving like a wild tiger

Alison Berkley
Aspen, CO Colorado

“Ma’am, you’re going to have to get out of the car please,” the policeman said, the sun lighting up his blues eyes just so. He had short blonde hair that made his head look like a peach.

“Why do I have to do that?” I asked, feigning nervousness with a sense of entitlement, which is how I usually get away with stuff.

I was about 15 miles east of Rock Springs, Wyo., on my way back from Jackson Hole last weekend when I got pulled over. I acted surprised when the cop told me he clocked me doing 120.

I gave him the old, “it’s the turbo,” excuse, which is sort of true. Like I assured my Dad, I really don’t drive that fast anymore. I only go as fast as the car will let me go, and my Jeep is more about freestyle than racing. But I wasn’t in my car and so it seems perfectly reasonable that I just wasn’t used to the acceleration of the Audi. It is so totally the Audi’s fault.

“Ma’am, if you’re going to drive that fast, we need to have a little chat,” he replied, his smile revealing an unmistakable dimple in his left cheek.

“I’m alone and I’m a long way from home, so I don’t have that much time,” I said, trying to communicate with my eyes that I planned to throw a giant fit if he even thought for two seconds about taking me to jail.

“Where’re you from?” he asked, his words syrupy with that redneck drawl.

“Aspen,” I said, even though my friends always tell me not to admit I’m from Aspen when I’m in, um, less fortunate areas. They say I should tell people I’m from the Roaring Fork Valley or the Glenwood exit or something like that.

“That’s not that far,” he said, nonplused by the Aspen thing.

“Well. I don’t want to have to drive in the dark, then,” I said, reaching for any excuse to avoid getting thrown in the clink.

“Please get in my car from the passenger side,” he said. “I’ll be waiting.”

Of course all kinds of scenarios played out in my head, from a visual of me getting cuffed and stuffed to, well, getting stuffed and cuffed ” if you know what I mean. There I was, in the middle of nowhere, with this fine looking cop complete with gun holster, hamstring muscles that popped out of his tight, striped polyester pants, and black leather boots that seemed to scream authority.

I get in the car and we have this nice chat about why I think it’s understandable that I’d be driving that fast. Stuff like, “there’s nothing in your way out here,” and “it seems perfectly safe to go whatever speed you want when you can see 500 miles in every direction.”

He’s listening to some alternative rock station on XM radio and songs by Nirvana and Sublime create a laid back atmosphere. At one point his cell phone rings and he answers it. “Can I call you back? I’m on a stop,” he says. I resist the urge to ask who it was that called, even though I want to. Meanwhile, he’s scribbling in some form and calling my I.D. into dispatch.

“So you’re blonde then,” he says, shooting me another dimpled grin. “Weight?

What, a buck-ten?”

I nod.

“My wife’s from Colorado. She drives fast, too.”

Wife? I wonder if that thickens the plot or ruins it.

“I’m gonna mark this down to 103 so you only have to make a court appearance,” he says.

I wonder what the alternative might have been in the great state of Wyoming. I see myself getting dragged behind horses or something with hooves involved.

Needless to say, the porn movie that’s playing in my head goes static.

A few days later, I had the distinct pleasure watching the New Hampshire primaries with a friend of mine whose parents are very much the real deal when it comes to political activism and devoting an entire lifetime to rallying for the Democrats. I’ve learned a lot from her and when she talks politics, I listen. She went on this long tirade about how America is like this wild tiger and the best candidate is the one who can ride it, or tame it, or something along those lines.

Basically what I gather is it’s one big dog and pony show. You know, who’s the best performer, who can command the biggest and most attentive audience. I told her I have a hard time paying attention to the political speeches because I feel like it’s a bunch of lip service. She said of course it is, but the one who is the best at delivering it wins.

So today I’m in the car listening to NPR, and they were interviewing these two African American ladies on Fresh Air who were quite funny. One was a Clinton supporter, the other rooting for Obama.

“We’re black, and we’re women, so we can’t lose either way,” one of them said.

I couldn’t agree more.

Back in Sweetwater, Wyo., the nice police officer handed me his card and told me to e-mail any comments I had regarding my experience. He didn’t ask me for a blowjob or have my car impounded or take me to jail. He said, “we’re the friendly state patrol,” and I think he really meant it.

Me, on the other hand, was completely full of it for the most part.

“Thanks,” I said, getting out of the car and enjoying the fresh air of freedom. I’m pretty sure I could ride a tiger if I knew it would get me out of trouble. That’s when it occurred to me that I should probably think about becoming a politician.


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