“Have you been drinking?” asked the officer when he stopped me on Broad Ripple Avenue in Indianapolis, after I had turned off of Keystone. I was on my way to do a WISH-TV remote shoot, my usual Sunday morning beat.
“Drinking? Officer, it’s 9:30 in the morning.”
“When is the last time you had a drink?”
“I don’t remember.”
“That’s not a good sign, sir.”
“That’s not what I mean. I think I had a beer three nights ago,” I stammered. Stammering, by the way, is not recommended during a situation like this.
The officer explained that when I made my turn, I “nicked the median with my front tire,” and that in his experience, “this usually means the person has had a few too many.”
“Officer, I’m not drunk. I’m just a lousy driver.” As you can see, I was having trouble saying what I meant to say.
He went back to his patrol car with my registration. A few minutes later he returned to my vehicle. “Have you ever been arrested?”
“Arrested? Look, I know you’re just doing your job, but other than having a few books overdue at the library, I’ve never been in trouble in my life.”
“Sir, I am going to let you go, but based on your careless turn, I would be justified in giving you a breathalyzer to see if you are legally drunk.”
“If it’s legal, what’s the problem?” (I just made up that last line. But the rest of the story is 100 percent true.)
When I got home, Mary Ellen asked why I was so late. I told her that I hit my front tire on the median and a cop pulled me over for being intoxicated.
“You do that all the time. Why didn’t you tell him you’re just a lousy driver?”
“I did tell him that.”
Mary Ellen burst out laughing. “I was kidding. I can’t believe you said that.”
Yesterday morning I went back to that corner and performed the same maneuver multiple times. In 9 out of 10 attempts, I was successful in negotiating the pesky median that separates the opposing traffic lanes.
If I were a baseball player, that would be a .900 average. However, it wouldn’t be for hitting. It would be for missing.