Several weeks ago I traveled back to my hometown for a friend’s bachelorette party. The night was a blast–there was karaoke, a scavenger hunt, and even a shout-out from a green-jeaned musician. But there was trouble, my friends. Trouble of the red and blue variety. Hear me out:

My parents’ house is a merry-go-round of friends and family. Living near the beach, there’s always weekend visitors, and as business owners, there’s always an employee dropping off keys or coming in to pick up a request. Add to that my aging, alzheimer’s-ridden grandmother who’s now living in my old bedroom and you’ve got quite the circus going. But a happy, fulfilling circus it is. Anyway, I stayed with my parents during my visit, and at the same time my parents’ friends came down for the weekend. The friends and my parents were going out to dinner for another friend’s birthday, and I offered to stay with my grandmother so they could have a night out on their own. I figured that by the time I needed to leave for the bachelorette party, my sister–who was also traveling in for the weekend–would have arrived and all would be well. The best laid plans…

Moments after my parents left, the bride-to-be called me and asked me to pick her up early: the major roadway near our home was completely closed because of a fire, and with traffic it was going to take us a lot longer to get to the restaurant for dinner. Moments later, my sister called. She had lost track of time and was running late, and she had to make several stops on the way. I took deep yoga breaths and started a game of 500 rummy with my grandmother. It was going to be a while.

Thirty minutes and 300 points later, I hear my sister’s car in the driveway,  lay down my (losing) hand, give Grams a kiss and fly out the door. And then fly down the road. Just as I am approaching my friend’s driveaway, blue and red flashes appear in my rear view mirror.

Now, I have to admit there’s something entirely thrilling about the first moment you realize you’re getting pulled over. For a split second I feel like a villain on a high-speed chase–and then my attention immediately turns to what I will tell the officer. I wonder if he’ll believe me when I say I’m rushing to a bachelorette party because I was busy caring for my ailing grandmother. I wonder if he’ll believe me that my friend’s house is right in front of us. Or I wonder if I should just keep my mouth shut and pray for good luck. You can never tell what will work–I once got out of a ticket for saying “Thank You” when the officer handed it to me (he grabbed it back and ripped it up). After being pulled over for speeding after a toll plaza, my mom told the officer that she wasn’t speeding–she was jockeying for position. She still got a ticket. So maybe honesty isn’t the way to go.

The officer approaches. He tells me I have a tail light out and I breath a sigh of relief. He gives me a warning and as I wait for him to fill it out, I see my friend come out on her porch and we giggle like schoolgirls. Clearly her bachelorette party was so wild, the police felt like they had to stop it before it even started.

And my tail light? It’s still not fixed.

Image via Beat

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