I know, I know....
You're thinking: "What? There was only ONE?"
There were probably many times in college when I SHOULD have been arrested. Like the time my BFF Jason (whose birthday is today) went into Sanford Stadium at around midnight. They were doing construction on the stadium, so we had easy access. It was a spooky place at night. We thought about going down on the field so we could truly say we had been "Between the Hedges," but we thought better of it. Good thing too -- apparently those hedges and that field have alarms on them.
But no, the time I almost got arrested I didn't INTENTIONALLY break the law. It was just a couple of years ago when I took my mother to the airport.
You would have to know my mother to appreciate this story fully, but I'll try to convey it anyway. Mom does things .... her way. At her time. Whether or not it's the proper time. And God help anyone who gets in her way.
I was only dropping her at the airport (this is the Atlanta airport, you know, the one that is proclaimed the busiest airport in the WORLD?), so I didn't have to worry about parking. What I did have to worry about, apparently, was my mother following the rules.
As soon as the building came into sight, she was already scrambling for the door handle so she could just -- what, leap out? -- and I wouldn't have to park. Never mind the NICE (insert sarcasm here) Atlanta police officer who was standing in the lanes of traffic motioning for cars to keep moving.
But there were three lanes. And I was in the one closest to the curb. I really, really thought he was motioning -- and screaming -- for the OTHER two lanes to keep moving. Besides, if I had kept moving, I would have dragged my mother down the sidewalk, because she was BY GOD getting out of that car with her suitcase. She melted into the crowd, intent upon catching her flight, oblivious of the fact that I was in big trouble.
The NICE police officer rapped violently on my window and motioned for me to let the window down.
With hands shaking, I handed him the plastic container I keep my license and all my credit cards in.
"TAKE IT OUT!!!" he barked. I told you he was nice.
"DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE PENALTY FOR DISOBEYING A POLICE OFFICER IS?"
I weakly apologized, "I'm sorry, sir, I didn't know you meant for ME to keep moving." What I wanted to say was, "Hey jackass, do YOU KNOW WHAT THE PENALTY IS FOR NOT DOING WHAT MY MOTHER SAYS?"
"The fine for disobeying a police officer is $250!" he screamed.
At which point I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "Hey jackass, I've GOT $250, okay?"
He took my license and went to the back of the car, scanned my insurance card (which we are NOT required to carry in Georgia anymore, by the way), looked at my license plate, and I think he took a mental picture of Every. Single. Decal. On. The. Back. Of. My. Car. Meanwhile I was about to hyperventilate.
He finally came back to my window and said something else snotty about disobeying a police officer, and I continued trying to explain that I hadn't intentionally disobeyed him, I had just misunderstood. Meanwhile, while he is berating me, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE DOING WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT TO IN THE DROP-OFF LINE. I saw at least a dozen terrorists go by and snicker while the police officer was busy with me.
After what seemed like several days, he gave my license back (and I was shaking so badly I dropped my little plastic thingie and my credit cards scattered all over the floorboard) and sent me on my way. I was still trembling and gasping for air. I wanted to cry and I wanted my mommy...... No wait, SHE was the one who got me IN this mess! It wouldn't have done for me to get my hands on her at that point.
As soon as I got off the airport property and headed home on the interstate, my cell phone rang. It was my mother.
"My God," she said, "this place is a madhouse."
Woman, you have no idea.