A couple weeks ago the wife and I decided to get out of the house, and just have some time to ourselves. Maxine came up with the idea to rent a motel at a coastal resort, Ocean Shores. Because the weatherman was calling for coastal high winds, she thought it would be fun to “storm watch” our Pacific Ocean. I believe I gave her a look as if she had suddenly developed a skin disease in the advanced stages. Actually it was my look of concern, wondering if her brain had teetered off the edge of sanity.
“What,” she said, as if what possible fault could I find in such a brilliant idea.
If there is one aspect of keeping marital bliss running on an even keel, it is knowing when to back off. Through personal history, even when I felt I won an argument, the misery I suffered in the days after always made the victory seem very hallow, and far more trouble than it was worth. “Well, if you’d like to go,” I finally replied, “let’s go.”
I will admit, Maxine’s idea was unique. Not one other person in the State of Washington thought of it. Ocean Shores was a ghost town. The streets and sidewalks were totally vacant. All that was needed were some tumbleweed rolling down the streets and the setting would have been complete. Out of the dozens of tourist shops lining the streets, I think three were open. After entering the second one I told the wife, judging from the clerk’s reaction behind the counter, the next clerk could be old and have a heart that couldn’t take the shock of actually having a customer. So much for browsing the shops.
We pulled into the empty parking lot of the motel and was given our key. But while still daylight we decided to drive down to the beach. True to the weatherman’s prediction the wind was howling. We decided to step out of the car into the fresh air. It is difficult to discern if air is fresh or not when it is rushing past the nose at approximately 60 mph, not to mention me being immediately distracted. The same gales winds caught my wide-brimmed hat and took it jubilantly rolling down the beach on its brim, spinning like a roulette wheel. I made a valiant attempt to catch up with it, but with running not being my forte’, I quickly gave up. Luckily the wife agreed getting out and enjoying the frigid wind straight off the Pacific was not such a great idea after all. So much for storm watching. So we got back in a drove down the beach. After a drive of two miles or more a man in a truck waved us down. “One of you lose a hat?” he said. Sure enough, that hat had rolled on its brim for over two miles, with it only being stopped by hitting the side of his truck.
It was not long and we were ready to head back to the motel. So much for driving the beach. With her staring out the window, and me staring at the television, both our thoughts were, “Okay, now what do we do?”
We finally decided to go to a restaurant and lounge we had seen driving in. It was advertising live music. The music was ear-piercing loud and of the type that could only be enjoyed by “Head Bangers.” So much for live entertainment. After one drink each that was so watered down an electron microscope would have been needed to detect the alcohol, we left. While driving down the deserted street I suddenly looked in my rear view mirror and saw flashing lights. It was an Ocean Shores policeman, and I was being pulled over. Maxine’s idea of a relaxing get-away just kept getting better and better.
“License, registration and proof of insurance,” he said, which I gave to him, all the time thinking, what the hell did I do wrong?
He then came back to my car window. “I smell alcohol. Have you been drinking?”
“Yes,” I replied. “We were just at the lounge up the road, had one drink, and now we’re going back to our motel room, which is right there,” pointing across the street.
“Could you please step out of the car,” he said, stoned faced.
I couldn’t believe it! I had been pulled over by Barney Fife of the Andy Griffin Show. Finally I gave a tired shake of the head and stepped out.
“Okay, I’m going to give you a sobriety test.”
“What?” I replied. “We had one drink each, period.”
“Just do as I say, sir,” he said, a little more sternness to his voice.
First I had to touch my nose with my eyes closed. Then I had to touch each of my fingers with my thumb, counting forward and then backwards. Then I had to recite the alphabet, with him adding something which I thought strange. “Some people find it easier to sing the alphabet. So if you would like to do so, that’s fine–”
“I don’t need to sing it,” I shot back, beginning to get a little irritated. But everyone knows the reputation of small-town police, so I certainly wasn’t going to spoil what was probably the hi-light of his day, maybe his week. For that reason I thought it might be best to lighten the mood when, much to my disbelief he said, “Now, say the alphabet backwards.”
I smiled and replied, “I will if you do it first.”
He never cracked a smile. “Okay, you’re borderline intoxicated but I’ll let that go–”
“Borderline!” I replied in disbelief, my smile instantly vanishing. “I’m as sober as you are!” I looked in the car to Maxine. She looked as shocked as I did. “Do you believe this?” I said to her.
“Calm down, sir. Now, do you know why I pulled you over?”
“I don’t have the slightest,” I said, looking anywhere but at him.
“You rolled that stop sign back there.”
“That’s why you pulled me over? Officer, as you can see there is not another automobile on the road in this entire town!”
“Makes no difference. You broke the law and that requires a ticket–”
“You’re going to give me a ticket? I gasped in disbelief. “No warning?”
“I’m going to let the drinking while driving ticket slide, and just give you a ticket for the other infraction.”
My guess is my reaction was supposed to be gratitude for his gracious leniency. If it was, it didn’t work. I lost my cool. “You can cuff me and haul me off to the slammer, but I’m going to tell you right now, this is total bullshit! I know it, and you know it!”
He simply handed me the ticket and said, “If you choose, you can contest the infraction at the court house on Monday.”
“Officer, I would be more than happy to if I didn’t live more than 200 miles away.”
“Then have a nice day.”
“The ticket ended up being $70.00. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. I am not a letter writer, but the first thing I did went I got home was write the Ocean Shores Chamber of Commerce, telling them what had happened, and what I thought of their city’s finest. Needless to say I have yet to receive a response.
Anyway, that was our wonderful and relaxing trip to get away from home. “Yaal cum’ on back now, ya heea!!