Saturday, April 29, 2006

Did Anyone Get the License Plate?

I was out running some errands today and as I pulled up at the light at US 1 and Tryon in Cary there was this guy in a convertable. He was driving with the top down and was drinking something out of a paper cup as he drove. When he stopped at the light he put down the paper cup and grabbed a half-empty clear one-liter bottle from the passenger seat beside him, took off the cap and started not so much to drink from the bottle as to pour its colorless contents down the front of his shirt. It was hard to tell what sort of bottle it was but it looked quite a bit like the plastic bottles that cheap vodka comes in -- the brand with the shiny blue label.

When the light changed it seemed to take the guy a while to get his car in the right gear to drive away. The man behind him, who apparently knew a drunk driver when he saw one -- started blowing his horn and gesturing. The gesturing and honking continued for a block or two until the guy in the convertible turned off into McGreggor Downs shopping center. The guy behind him drove on by shaking his finger out the window as the covertible turned off the road.

There were quite a few people there in trafic with us. I don't know if anyone else got the license number of the convertible, but I did. Here it is:


I took the above photo in my driveway because, you see, the guy in the convertible was me and the guy behind me -- the one with the honking and gesturing -- had jumped to an understandable, but mistaken conclusion. If you were planning to report the incident to MADD or the police, I'd just as soon you didn't. Which brings us to what really happened.

Dear Diary,

I mowed the grass this morning. It was a fine day -- sunny but cool -- and it was good to have something to do outside. I noticed that the bare spots where the dogs run up and down by the fence were not filling in and resolved to get some more grass seed after lunch. The furiture shop had called saying that the pillow for one of our chairs was ready so I decided to buy the grass seed at the Lowes across from Ethan Allan at the Crossroads Shopping Center in Cary. To add a third errand to my trip I also took along my gym clothes so I could hit the gym on the way home.

I was doing my mowing in an undershirt and blue jeans which seemed a bit underdressed for Ethan Allen so, not wanting to dirty another shirt for a few minutes wearing I put back on the shirt I wore to the office yesterday. This is technically against the rules; my wife gets mad when I wear my relatively-more-expensive and delicate 'work' clothes for weekend chores. But I was just going to two stores and the gym so what could go wrong? Since the weather was fine I put the top down on my car and headed out.

I picked up the pillow first. The wife has been calling the store freguently to see if it was in -- not so much because she was eager to have it as because she wanted to pick it up so I wouldn't have to know what it cost. It was actually less than I had thought but it was still a lot for a firkin' pillow. I have bought computers for less and she complained about the expense and I figured this expensive pillow would be handy the next time something needs an upgrade.

Next I picked up the grass seed across the street -- I also picked up a few annual flower plants to consign to the window-box-of-death. On my way to the gym I stopped at Whole Foods to get a cup of coffee. I find that my workout goes oh-so-much better if I am appropriately caffeinated. When I got the the light at Tryon and 64 I went over a bump and the coffee sloshed and geysered out of sipper on my paper cup and a splotch landed right on the front of my non-weekend-approved, $40 dollar-plus, dress shirt. This was a potential disaster! If the spot set it would more-than-offset any advantage I might have gotten from my wifes ridiculously-expensive pillow.

Thinking fast I grabbed a napkin from the side pocket of my car and blotted. I could see that there would be a visible spot if I let it dry so I grabbed a half-empty bottle of water I had left on the passenger seat after my last trip to the gym, took off the cap and sloshed some on the spot to keep it wet. The light turned green and when I went to pull away I found that I had left the car in third gear while I dealt with the spill. I shifted the bottle of water to my left hand to shift gears and headed for the gym a few blocks away to continue rinsing and blotting in the parking lot.

About this time I noticed the car behind me blowing his horn -- honk honk honk honk -- and giving me indeciptherable hand gestures -- not rude gestures, just odd ones I couldn't figure out. As I got in the left turn lane the guy passed me, staring at me and shaking his finger at me -- tisk tisk -- out the window.

I did manage to get the spot out, I think, and it was only later, as I was running a few laps at the gym that I realized what all the honking and gesturing was about. I had been mistaken for a drunk driver. Pretty funny, I think.

[Note to self: be sure to use the expensive-pillow thing quickly since the wife sometimes reads my blog and once she knows about the coffee spot she will suddenly be able to see it and will give me the "this shirt is ruined" thing.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Typically us drunk driving police look for drunks out late at night...we're not trained for spotting people more worried about their shirt and wife instead paying attention to driving types. I guess MADD needs to step up and start a sub organization called MAdd...Mothers Against Dummies Driving. Clean your shirt at home dude....when you're in your car, pay attention to everything else, not yourself.