So I'm driving home from my parent's house with the family. Light turns orange, I race through it and onto a 6-lane main road. All the other traffic at the lights went the other way, so I am alone on a 6-lane divided main road, so I don't bother staying below the speed limit.
My nose starts to itch. And drip. And generally carry on (I suffer, sometimes, from terrible sinus issues). But I can't get into my pocket without taking my belt off, and I can't pull over because big empty road or not, its a clearway.
So I take my belt off, take my hanky out and take care of business. Before doing so I check my mirrors (I have been pulled over for having my belt off in similar situations by an un-marked car) but there's only an old van back there.
Now (try to keep up at this point, particularly if you come from a country that drives on the right) I have my hanky in my right hand (yes, I am right handed) so I just follow the road through two corners without indicating, because the indicator is on the right of the column and my right hand is occupied (I don't even think about this, since both turns involve lanes that are marked for turning, so all I have to do is follow them).
Thats when the old van behind me turns on its flashing lights. Its a damn paddy-wagon and I didn't even notice.
So I pull over. I figure I am being pulled over for no seat belt on, so I just sit there with my hanky in hand preparing to explain. I figure I have a good explanation.
What I am not happy about is that they will ask for my license, which is cracked and broken. I have never had it fixed because it is due to be renewed in December and I wasn't going to pay $20+ lo these many months for a 5-year license that was due to be renewed this very year.
Then I realise: its not December, Its January. January 1. Of the year after this-very-year.
*Knock knock knock* on the window. Its a young male cop.
"Blah blah breathaliser blah blah license. You've come to our attention..."
Because I don't have a seat belt on...
"...because you did not indicate at the last two intersections."
You knew that, sorry if it seems I am telling the story out of sequence but it made sense to explain while I was talking about holding my hanky. But when he said that I was not expecting it and while I wasn't silly enough to start arguing with a member of the constabulary (I realised, much later, the hanky-based reason it had happened) I was genuinely flabergasted and asked him to clarify which corners.
Anyways... he then follows procedure and says, "have you had anything to drink recently?"
I am coming from New Years Day with the folks, so of course I have had a couple of cold beverages. And I tell him so.
- not wearing selt belt
- two corners without indicating
- damaged (potentially invalid) license card
- license is freaking EXPIRED
- been drinking
- its a holiday
Why does that last one matter? Because here in the great state of New South Wales, they DOUBLE penalties on holidays to combat the inevitable rise in the death toll when everyone is out on the road heading for wherever, or coming home pissed from parties. Not financial penalties - that would be seen as a cynical cash-grab - but things like demerit points. Damn good system actually, it has lowered the road toll in recent years.
On the up side, I have only had two light beers - I don't DUI at the best of times, let alone with my kids in the car - so I pass the breath test. But he then asks to see my license, which I give him.
"You should get this renewed..." he starts, but I am way ahead of him. I have already dug out the renewal form, which I picked up last time I was at the RTA (paying my car rego or something, I forget what I was doing there) and filled in. I AM a cynical sod - I won't pay the damn $20+ fee but I will go to the trouble of filling in the form to give myself plausable deniability.
"But Officer, I was just about to get a new license, I have the form right here! I just have to get it notarised." (Thats inaccurate gibber - you merely have to get it witnessed by an adult, not notarised, but I was under stress).
"I was about to say, you should get this renewed because if there is any doubt about your identity we have to take you in."
He then gives me my license back, tells me to more care with my indicating, and lets me go.
Here's the ironic bit - the license contains my name, address, the license number and enough of my photo to be obviously me. So it still constitutes valid ID 9 times out of 10.
The snapped off bit contains the edges of the photo and the end of the expiry date. It just says '30 Dec' with no year.
And apparently the cop let me go on everything else because, driving a paddy wagon, he was not a highway patrolman, so no radar to clock my speeding (they stick out the window of patrol cars and are easy to spot), and he didn't give the seatbelt thing a thought. He just saw a guy going (probably) too fast and cornering without indicating, thought, "better breathalise that asshole" and when I came up clean let me go.
Ted 2, John Law 0.