Thursday, May 11, 2006

Descending back into a life of crime

Generally speaking, it's not a good idea to break the law right in front of a cop.

Fortunately, I got away with it.

The irony is, just moments before I had been thinking about another criminal incident from my past that I had committed without getting caught.

As I was driving home from work, I spotted an Interstate 5 freeway sign. I probably see those signs every day. I have to cross under I-5 every day en route to and from work. So, why the sign reminded me of a 12-year-old theft on this particular drive, I'm not sure.

But spotting the sign got me to thinking about the interstates I've lived near throughout my life. Interstates 80, 84, I-5 and as they call them in California, the 15 and the 10.

The early years of my life were spent along the 19th Century equivalent of an interstate freeway, the Oregon Trail, in a small town in Nebraska. But this town wasn't near a modern freeway. The closest interstate was Interstate 80.

When I was in grade school I moved to the other end of the Oregon Trail to a small Oregon town that was just off Interstate 80.

In 1980 Interstate 80 became Interstate 84. At the time, I thought that was pretty cool because I was set to graduate from high school in 1984. Got to love that, right? I loved it so much that in 1984, sometime around the time I graduated from high school, I pilfered an I-84 sign off a rural exit out in the middle of nowhere, otherwise known as right near my hometown. That sign became a key decoration in my dorm room, frat house room, college apartments and the first apartment I had after college.

But my first job after college didn't go so well, and I ended up getting fired. Being flat broke and unemployed I did what any prideful, self-respecting 20-something person would do. I moved back in with mommy and daddy. And I hid the evidence of my thievery in my parents' basement and forgot it was there.

Forgot, that it, until my younger brother told me it was found when my parents did some remodeling in their basement. He of course, ratted me out.

All this stuff was rattling around in my brain as I continued my trip home. After making a quick stop for an errand, I approached an intersection a couple of blocks from my apartment and slid over into the turn lane. I thought the traffic signal gods must really love me, because signal for the turn lane went green just as I was getting close to the last car in line in front of me, and there were only three cars in line ahead of me.

SWEET! I'm gonna make the light.

But the light turned yellow as the second car was in the middle of the intersection.

Fuck it. I'm goin' anyway. I can make it before the light turns red.

I didn't make it.

As I approached the crosswalk I actually quit looking at the signal light. I didn't want to see it turn red. But I knew it was read by the time I entered the intersection. I could hear the audible tone for the visually impaired in the crosswalk at the intersection chirping just outside my open car window.

I felt a pang of guilt, but only a small one, for my traffic infraction.

Small, until I looked in my rearview window. There, directly behind me waiting for the light was a city patrol car.

I just knew I was going to see that patrol car on my rear bumper, lights flashing, before I turned into my apartment complex. Or worse yet, the cop would follow me into the complex, so my nosey neighbor could see me getting cited for breaking the law.

But, the cop never turned down my street and I got away, free and clear.

The G-man is just your average, ordinary scofflaw untouched by the hands of justice.

Well, except for that one time.


Anonymous said...

I just went back and read your whole jail experience and I just want to say how proud I am to actually KNOW a criminal. Welcome back to the life of crime. ;)

The G-man said...

Is this the part where I say I was framed?

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