Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

More advice?

ALWAYS wear a tie.

I mentioned yesterday in my conversation with Wind Rider that I had a run-in with the constabulary, and I suppose I should post it here as a cautionary tale for each of you.

But, remember, always wear a tie. And be polite.

Anyway, recently there appeared upon in our mailbox a frighteningly large dun for our home insurance. Our mortgage is arranged so that a periodic payment of insurance is not added in, meaning it's our responsibility to pay it directly to the insurance company when it's due. But, you know, that slipped my mind, and I haven't been setting aside an appropriate amount each month, using my hard-earned cash for such silly excesses as food and clothing. So, a big unexpected bill.

Rather than dip into our savings yet again, I decided a better course would be to rid myself of some extraneous shooting irons that have been holding a place in the gunsafe, lonely and depressed that they never get to come out and play anymore. No use hanging on to them if I don't get to use them, I supposed, and so I decided yesterday to take them to one of the local gun shops that specialize in older stuff to allow them to be taken in by a better parent than me.

I quietly went about removing the excessage during the early morning yesterday, and placed them in an innocuous bag to keep them covered, and then put them in the back of the van. The plan was that after our Monday staff meeting, I would hie to the other side of town, exchange them for some large folding money, scoot over to the bank, and then back to the office in time to actually do some work before heading over to meet Wind Rider.

"Gang aft aglay," and all that.

Well, I headed out about 9:00 or so, and got to Hoover around 9:30. Only to find the store didn't open until 10:30. I couldn't wait THAT long--I had other things to do, of course! So I figured I would go try my alternative place, a tiny, out-of-the-way shop over just to the west of Trussville.

10:00, walk in with my toys, only to find that the owner wasn't much in the buying mood. Apparently business hasn't been doing too well. Well, there WAS the shop up the road there beside the tanning salon and the trophy place... Hopped over there, and the owner was out doing something constructive, and his office help didn't want to buy anything without his okay. Hmm. This is beginning to take MUCH longer than planned, isn't it?!

Well, no telling when he was going to be back, and by now, if I drove BACK to Hoover, the store I was originally going to visit would now be open. ::sigh:: I dropped the two sidearms in the floorboard on top of the little bag I had spirited them out of the house in and set off for the other side of the county. Again.

Driving, driving, daydreaming, watching my speed because the state troopers have begun a crackdown on speeders, look out the window, wonder what I'll order for lunch, take the I-65 South exit off of I-459, look out the win-D'OH! Dangitall. I should have stayed on 459! Stupid mind-wandering me. Oh well, no really big deal, just another waste of increasingly precious time. I could go down to Valleydale, and then cut through to Highway 31 via the Riverchase Parkway.

Made the exit, went and made the turn onto the Parkway. It's really a pretty drive, although the road is getting close to needing to be repaved, and it's twisty as it can be. Some lummox in a van was taking up a lane and a half, and finally I was able to get around him and make it up to the light at Highway 31. Right turn signal, and...


Little blue lights.

I put the van in park, and then at that moment realized I was probably being stopped as part of the local effort to reduce speeding, and that I had two holstered handguns in plain view in the floorboard.

This could be a not-good thing, you know.

The policeman, one of Hoover's finest, came around to the passenger side door and tapped on the glass. I rolled it down, and was met by the face of an officer who looked strikingly like veteran character actor Gary Grubbs.

"Sir, I clocked you at 49 miles per hour in a 35 zone. You want to tell my why you were in such a hurry?"

49? Good thing he hadn't clocked me earlier.

I just told him the truth--"I just wasn't watching my speed, sir." I noticed him looking down. "I need your driver's license, tag receipt, proof of insurance, and...sir, are those weapons in the floor?"

"Yes, sir, they are. I do have a permit for concealed carry, though, and they aren't loaded--I was taking them up here to the Gun Cellar to sell them." And now, the race to find all my papers--license, okay, and then my permit. I looked behind my license. Nope. I looked under my credit cards. Nope. Oh, geez. I looked inside the pocket inside my billfold where the money goes. "You work for the City of Birmingham?" He had seen my ID badge necklace. "Yes, sir," and I filled him in on what I do while I continued to grow increasingly nervous that I had somehow managed to mislay my pistol permit.

OH! Wait!

I got a new wallet a while back, and it has the handy ID window on the OUTside of the wallet. I pulled it out and WHEW! There it was. And then I tried to get it out. Urgh. OOmph. "Ah, hmm, well, hold on officer, it's stuck to the plastic WINdow." I poked my finger in and tried to work it in between the plastic and the card, carefully trying not to erase all the lettering. "Sir, you can just let me see it." I handed him the whole wallet, and he satisfied himself that I was still legal. He handed it back and I started looking for my tag receipt and insurance card. Not in the ashtray. Not in the lower bin. Oh, dang, not again. Glovebox? Again, sigh of relief.

I handed him the tag receipt and then got the wad of expired insurance cards. By now, I was rather discombobulated. And sweaty. Expires July '03. Expires January '02. Expires January '04. Expires July '02. Oh crap. I went through the whole stack and not a SINGLE card was the current one. OH no. I looked and, "Looks like you have one more card down there in the bottom of the glovebox." Indeed I did. And WHEW!, that was the one that I needed. I handed him the stack of stuff and sat back, awaiting the inevitable speeding ticket that would take up all the money that I was trying to get for myself. Or worse, I would be taken in ignominous shame from the van and beaten with a flashlight. OR WORSE, I would be...he was walking back up to the passenger side with my papers. Is that a ticket? I don't see a ticket...

"Sir, you REALLY need to slow down. I have to work a lot of wrecks on this stretch, and it's no fun because folks are always about to run you down. You slow down, and good luck on selling your pistols."

I thanked him profusely, and promised to keep the tire-squealing action to a minimum. And thanked my lucky stars I was dressed all respectably dweeby-like and was driving a respectably dweeby vehicle and had all the necessary paperwork to avoid being thrown under the slammer. I imagine things could have been MUCH worse had any one of those circumstances not been fulfilled.

Off to the gun store, then, where the transaction was accomplished with much laconic bench talk on the part of the proprietor--NOT that I was in a hurry or anything--and then afterwards I made a quick stop at the bank to deposit my spoils.

Remember kids, always exercise prudent financial stewardship and always wear a tie. Saves a lot of trouble.

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