As my sister and I are driving north of Madison, we pass a state trooper. I had been speeding some, but not much because I am always The Person Who Gets Caught. Even if I were using SH's fancy radar detector that was his birthday, Christmas and birthday present 2008-09, I would still get caught. A second later, I look up and see the red lights behind me. Oh crap. I will never hear the end of it if I get a speeding ticket after SH spent more money than what I think a nice pair of Manolos costs on the Passport. Sheesh.
Me: Hello officer.
Officer: Where are you coming from?
Jenny: (Should we offer her some rhubarb bars?)
Me: (No! Shush!)
Officer: Where are you going?
Me [in blatant attempt to play on sympathy]: To Medford for our grandmother's funeral.
Officer: Oh I'm sorry.
Me: She was 97.
Officer: OK. Well, it doesn't look like you have a front license plate.
Me: No ma'am. I don't.
Officer: Do you know where it is?
Me: Maybe. It might be in the trunk. My husband knows. Are front plates required?
Me: Well, he tricked me into moving here from Tennessee, where they are not required.
Officer: May I see your license and registration please?
Me: Yes ma'am.
Jenny digs the registration out of the glove box and not only is the car not registered to me -- "We got married last fall" -- but there are two $20 bills stuffed next to the registration. We all fall silent as we contemplate the implications of the money. Am I supposed to use that as a bribe? Would it even be enough? Why didn't I know about this money before? Is bribery OK if it gets you out of a ticket? How does one even offer a bribe? You'd think I would know having lived in South America, but when several of us were taking the train from Santiago to Temuco and wanted to play cards in the dining car, which apparently was against the rules, and Rich asked another passenger if we should offer a "tip" to the porter who had told us to stop playing cards, the Chilean drew himself up and said indignantly, "We are not in Mexico!"*
Officer: That looks like the registration there.
She runs my license and registration. Upon her return, my sister is very disappointed to learn that I do not have a criminal record.
Officer: Here you go. You need to put that plate on.
Me: Yes ma'am. I'll have my husband do it this weekend.
Officer: I'm not giving you a ticket, but I do have to give you a record of the transaction.
Me: Yes ma'am.
Jenny: Would you like some rhubarb bars?
We all fall silent again as we think about this. Is it a bribe if you offer it after the transaction is complete? Do we really want to share the rhubarb bars now that I know I am not getting a ticket? What if she doesn't like rhubarb? Who doesn't like rhubarb? That's just crazy.
Officer: That sounds so good. But I can't.
Me: Are you sure?
Officer: We're not allowed to take anything.
Officer: Well, you guys have a safe trip now.
* With apologies to my Mexican readers. But that is what he said.