My (Almost) Mug Shot

8 years ago I was in the middle of a divorce (the“middle” is after the gut-wrenching, “this isn’t working” conversation, and before that moment you no longer recognize your life) and although it was civil, it was still a divorce and I’m still a woman with intense emotions. One night I was having a particularly difficult time living with the idea that I was going to be divorced before 30, so I left the house and called a close friend to vent while driving aimlessly around the city. My sobs had escalated to a point that my friend became concerned and asked me to pull over before I got a ticket for noise violation or ended up in an accident. I quickly complied and pulled into the first dark parking lot I could find so that no one would be able to witness the scene in my car, which was lots and lots of snot and loud undecipherable noises. I eventually took a breath and happened to look into my rearview mirror. To my surprise a police car was pulling in behind me with the lights blazing. I had no idea why I would be in trouble for parking and crying, but thought that maybe Sheriff Joe was cracking down on women about to cross the border into loco-ville. I remained on the phone with my friend when the officer tapped on my window with a night stick (a night stick!!) and told me to hang up the phone and turn my car off immediately. It wasn’t until I nervously obeyed his instructions that I realized I had parked in a car wash parking lot, and more importantly, that the security alarm at said car wash was BLARING! I am such a loud crier (or maybe my friend is such a loud consoler) that I didn’t hear a screaming security alarm obviously pointing to me as the only reasonable suspect. The cop directed me to get out of the car and sit on the curb. I’ve only seen officers ask people to sit on the curb in reality TV shows right before that person is arrested, so you can imagine my dread. All I could think was I’m failing at marriage and now I’m going to have a mug shot…this is my punishment for divorce. The officer proceeded to ask me what I was doing at the car wash and I blubbered on about getting a divorce and being sad and needing to get out of the house and pulling over so I wouldn’t crash. He interrupted my slobbery excuse and told me to sit and wait for him while he “checked the perimeter.” This is when I realized he thought I was the driver of the getaway car for a grand theft auto wash. After securing the perimeter (AKA tip-toeing around a building with a flashlight) the officer apologetically admitted that this was a terrible case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. At which I said, “No shit Sherlock!” Just kidding I didn’t curse at a cop…I was crying too hard (and I don’t curse mom!). He helped my soggy butt off the curb and asked me if I needed help getting home. As I drove home with swollen eyes and a broken heart, I thought, maybe just maybe this ridiculous turn of events was exactly what I needed to remind me that life is full of unexpected circumstances, and every moment will pass no matter how difficult or scary, or sad. I realize now that the lesson I can take away from this particularly unlucky night is to stop and quiet myself, (especially in trying times) so that I don’t miss the prounounced warnings that there’s trouble ahead OR the crystal clear solutions that could be glaring me right in the face.

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