You know, having a weekly column is quite an honor. I mean, it's every writer's dream, really.
And I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to have this space reserved for little old me each Sunday - truly.
Even so, there are some weeks when it's a bit of a test - sort of multiple choice and essay all rolled into one. Because even the most long-winded among us occasionally find ourselves driving the endless loop around Writer's Block.
Then there are those weeks when the thing just sort of creates itself. Welcome to the column that Patty's idiocy wrote.
Now, I'm not saying that I do really bonehead things in my personal life just to give you folks something amusing to read as you down your first cup of joe each Sunday - and I'm not saying that I don't. Hmm.
All right, so it was a few days ago when I was making my way from Stark County to Trumbull. For whatever reason, I chose a route that included taking state Route 255 to state Route 224. Yeah, yeah, it was probably the long way, whatever.
Anyhow, it was just before the center of Ellsworth that it happened. I noticed the sheriff's deputy (from a whole other county, btw) tailing me. Closely.
Immediately, I began sweating. "What, what, why, why, what?" I actually heard myself say aloud. In the 72 seconds it took for his lights to go on, I asked myself 47,589 times, "Dang it, Patty, what did you do?" I wasn't speaking to me at that moment, apparently.
Either way, the unsmiling gentleman who emerged from the police car had the exact same question for both of us. "Ma'am, do you know why I stopped you today?"
Officially, I replied, "No, sir," though in my head the conversation sounded more like, "See, moron? I knew he'd ask you this. Think, think! What did you do? I don't know, I'm not sure? Oh shut up, already!"
Sensing my inner turmoil, he gave me a sideways glance and uttered "License and registration, please," which I had already produced and was gently offering out the window. He was already turning back toward his cruiser as he explained that he clocked me at 27 miles over the speed limit passing a truck about a half mile ago.
"Idiot! What did you do? Twenty-seven miles is like a bazillion dollars in fines. Kerry is going to KILL you " the internal rant continued, though I sheepishly said to the displeased deputy, "Um, really, sir? That fast?"
The smile-challenged officer said, "Yep. The zone drops from 55 to 40 just before the spot you passed that truck."
Of course it does.
"Proof of insurance?" said Sir Surly. I'd already started re-panicking because I could only find an expired card. I was assuring him that I definitely have valid insurance as he co-assured me that I definitely needed to prove it on request here in the Buckeye State. Now.
He ran my plates, and I ran out of places to look in my purse and car. "Well, you're going to have to confess," said the Catholic schoolgirl in me.
And plead guilty I did. "I'm so sorry, I can only find this outdated card but I know our insurance is current," I nearly wept, visions of being shackled and hauled downtown in the back of the cruiser stinging my mind's eye.
How will I tell my son that I was incarcerated? I'll have a record! Oh, the shame, the horror, the disgrace ... the card.
Um, the card was actually valid. I'd fessed up to a crime I didn't commit.
"Ma'am, this doesn't expire until September. You're fine," he said, softening a bit.
"Oh, yes, ha, um, yes, right, September, I'm um, a little, uh, nervous I guess, uh, sir."
And just like that, he actually smiled. OK, it was a roaring belly laugh. More whatever and several hmpfs.
Then, friends, I heard those magical, beautiful words that every stopped driver longs to hear: "I'm going to let you go with a verbal warning today"
He may have then said I'm wanted in 14 states after that. I don't know because I was too busy high-fiving myself mentally.
"Oh, thank you, thank you, I'm so sorry. Really, honest, I promise," I said, sticking my hand out the window for - I'm not sure? The sign of peace? Absolution?
By now, the good officer was literally cracking up. "OK, then, you just slow down," he said, shaking my hand.
"I will, I will, for sure. You can count on me, I will do that right now and later, too and you know, from here forward " I blathered.
I could totally hear him calling on the radio back to headquarters. "Oh no, I win. Wait 'til you hear this one ... bah, ha!"
Really, people, don't mention it. It was all for your reading pleasure.
Slow down, all, and happy Sunday!
Kimerer is a Tribune columnist and really, really nervous puller-overer. Contact her with your automotive blunders at firstname.lastname@example.org.