Thursday, December 28, 2006


a belated ode to m.t.

So quite a few months ago, I remarked that I had, in a couple of days, carried a keg, been pulled over...and...oh yes, pushed a car.

Here is the story of my brush with the law.


So. Goofing off at work (because what is work for if not goofing off?), one day I listened to m.t.'s playlist. M.t. is this smart guy who can be pretty quiet, but you know he's always watching, and has some clever observation or quip. You never know what he's going to say, or if he's going to say anything, so standing next to him is sorta like standing on shifting sand, or on one of those trap doors in Sonic the Hedgehog. Is he going to be serious? Funny? Kinda scary and intimidating? You just never know.

But back to his playlist. It was wide and varied, featuring songs by Jay-Z, Edith Piaf, The Supremes, Johann Sebastian Bach, etc. One band, The Hold Steady, grabbed me with its random references to Catholicism, literature, and pop culture. A few days after my discovery I casually mentioned to m.t. that I loved that new-to-me band, and he told me that he and his friends were going to The Hold Steady concert in Baltimore in a few weeks, and asked me if I wanted to come along.

Well, fast forward a few weeks during which I was worried that I'd be the annoying girl crashing the cool guys' concert, and m.t. reassuring me a few times that it would be okay. And then I was paranoid about the driving situation (let's just call me high maintenance...), and I asked m.t. if he'd let me be the designated driver. Far from being insulted, he seemed pretty pysched that I'd let the burden of drinking rest on the shoulders of him and his friends.

The concert was awesome. But that's not where the story is.

Post-concert, the four guys stumbled into the car, laughing and having a great time, after hearing a great band, and getting to go up on stage with them, sharing a bottle of Jack Daniel's with the lead singer. M.t. was next to me, his three sweetheart friends piled in the back. I stood outside the car, adjusted my sweater, put up my hair, put on my glasses, got in, buckled my seat belt, tossed my pocketbook in the backseat, turned on the lights, and we were off.

Automatically consulting the rearview mirror, I remembered that there wasn't a rearview mirror. But I'm the girl who didn't know how to use her mirrors until she had her license for six months (remember the parking garage? yeah.), so I wasn't too perturbed.

Pulling out of the gravel parking lot, we had gone a block when I noticed flashing red and blue lights loom behind me.

I gasped, "Is HE pulling ME over?" and put on my turn signal, and began moving to the righthand side of the road.

My passengers screamed as one, because there was a car to my right that I hadn't noticed. Whoops. I remedied the situation, as that guy pulled away, thanking his lucky stars that I hadn't hit him.

After I pulled over, I began scrambling, trying to find the overhead light, because I had heard on Oprah that police officers are real people and get scared too. M.t. said, quite sternly, "Put your hands on the wheel," and I did as told, while the owner of the car turned on the light.

I rolled down the window, and the officer appeared, a skinny shadow, imposing and scariness personified.

I squeaked, "Hello, Officer."

And he looked at me, and smiled.

This is where m.t. said that we passed the test. There may have been four drunk guys in the car, but there was a dorky-looking girl as the driver, who was quaking in her brown sweater, too-tight blue pants, gold shoes and brown glasses.

"Did you know that your tail light is out?" he asked. I responded in a truly cowardly fashion, eagerly shooting out, "No! It's not my car!! I'm just the designated driver!"

M.t.'s roommate piped up from the back, saying that it was his car, and he had brought it in today to get it fixed, and he had the paperwork to show it. M.t. began searching for the paperwork in the middle console, and was coming up with nothing.

The Officer looked into the backseat. "Where's your seatbelt?" he asked one of m.t.'s friends.

I kept my hands on the wheel and looked staight ahead, but I'm pretty sure m.t.'s friend pointed to the unbelted belt next to him, as he said, "Right here!" because everyone had a good jovial laugh.

The Officer asked for my license, and I dug my hands in my tight pocket, barely scraping it out.

He took a look at it, and said, "Hey, you're from Massachusetts? So am I!"

Yesss. YESSS. YESS!!!!!!

I smiled in, oh, humongous relief, as I asked him where. He said Springfield. About 100 miles from me. Close enough!

As he walked back to his car to make sure that I didn't have any outstanding warrants, or whatever it is that they do, my passengers started nervously joking that I wasn't on the run with any outstandings warrants, right? I moaned and fretted that if we got a ticket, it would be my first one, ever, and this was the first time I had ever been pulled over. The friend who owned the car said, "I hope he doesn't notice the front headlight that's out" as I was hoping the police officer didn't notice the missing mirror. One of m.t.'s friends jokingly suggested that we get out and run, and I whipped my head around, losing all the sweetness and light I had been beaming with the force of the sun on the police officer moments before.

"If you do anything to get me arrested, I'll slit your fucking throat," I hissed and threatened, none too lady-like.

*Cricket, Cricket*

It was at this point that m.t. made an impassioned speech, saying that if it weren't for me, they would all be in jail at that moment. And, choruses along the lines of "Thank God for Meg," was passed around the car. Hurray!

The police officer came back, and m.t.'s friend handed the police officer the paperwork that he found. Sure as day, it said that the tail light was fixed. The officer gave a wry chuckle as he suggested that he go back to the shop and talk to them. I gave the police officer my most innocent, sober-deer-in-headlights look as he pressed a thin slip of yellow paper in my hands.

"This isn't a ticket, or even a's just an 'advised'," he said, with an understanding look.

I blinked.

"So, like, I don't have to do anything? It's not a ticket? It won't go on my record?" I asked, or something along those lines. I was panicked. In shock. I don't have total recall.

"No, you're just advised," he said, again in an understanding manner.

He walked back to his car, and I gave a huge sigh of relief. I looked to m.t. for guidance, as I asked "So, um, what's the protocol? Does he go first? Do I go first?"

M.t. told me that I go first, and with the blinker going, and some careful checking in the side mirror, we were off.


Although I have quite a few other m.t. stories and memorable moments, that experience was my favorite. It was our bonding moment. It was my first brush with the law, and there's no one I would have rather experienced it with than with him.

Of course, this being D.C., us being young, him being incredibly awesome, intelligent, entertaining, this means that m.t. has moved away, to Washington state. Stinks.

He'll be super missed. But he's going to be a raging success. And how could we keep the ridiculousness that is m.t. all to ourselves? It would be selfish.

M.T: I'll be seeing you again!

Isn't it always the luck that the good ones move away?!?!

Great story though. :) Good times, good times!
He will surely be missed.

Side note: it is not illegal to drive without a rearview mirror. Some cars don't even come with them. I actually just learned this fact over the weekend. So rest assured!
tc: yup!

cp: awesome!! how did you learn that? that's such a great fact!
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