Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Took a Little Road Trip Last Week

(Yes, this road trip did coincide with the policeman encounter, and yes, I am just now posting pictures of it.  The road trip, not the encounter.)

Disclaimer:  Before anyone (i.e. Daddy) gets too upset, I'll have you know all pictures which look like they were taken on the road were taken on the road, but not with me looking through the viewfinder.  I just had the camera next to me and held it up when I saw something I wanted to take a picture of.

This one, in fact, was taken at a stop sign.  And maybe I did look through the viewfinder, just this once.


Really, I've got to get over this obsession with crooked pictures, but you have to admit, sometimes things just beg to be photographed from an angle, while some things need to be perfectly horizontal.


This is a road I travel quite frequently, because it takes me to one of my favorite places.

(You should totally click on that link, especially if you live in Texas.  I worked at that favorite place for three summers in a row and loved every minute of it.  While you're there, you should check out the photos from the summers of 2009 and 2010.  A lot of them are mine and I'm just a little bit proud of them.  Okay, end of shameless plug for self.)

This road also leads to one of my best friends, and, this summer, it lead to my sister and this lovely.
And when you're going to visit those three, it's almost a crime not to have a Sonic drink.

Sorry.  Private joke.

Have I mentioned that this is one of my favorite roads?  So wide open with nothing but the sky above you.  I tell you, it's fantastic when you're driving into the sunset.  I've had some pretty good times with Jesus on this road.

Don't worry, Daddy, the camera is zoomed all the way in, and I definitely had both hands on the wheel before that truck was even close to me.

But this summer hasn't been very kind to the fields round-about my road.  I saw lots like this.

Even that sky looks parched!

No.  That picture has not been edited at all.  That is really the color of the grass.  And my apologies for the slim amount of field you can actually see.  When you're just holding the camera up without looking through the viewfinder, these are the kind of things you get.

All in all, I was happy to finally make it to this


And, after a few fun days, to leave this


behind for this


and finally, this.


I do love home.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It Finally Happened

I got pulled over.
And the officer was extremely rude.  I know, I know, he has to follow a certain script in order to protect himself and so on and so forth.  but really, he was rude.

I had never been pulled over before, so I didn't know what I was supposed to do.  I racked my brain for the driver's ed lesson about what to do when you desert everything driver's ed has taught you and actually have to interact with the police, but sadly, I couldn't recall it.
And, let's face it.  Driver's ed was a long time ago.

So I pulled into a Pizza Hut parking lot with the police car behind me, and immediately proceeded to get out of the car.  The police-man put up one finger, motioning to me that I should hold on.  I guess he was running my license plates or something.
When he got out of his car, I got out of mine.  I have since been informed that this was the wrong decision as it could be perceived as a threat.  But really, do I look threatening?

I proceeded to inform the policeman that I had never been pulled over, so didn't really know what to do.
He simply said "You should have your window rolled down."  Which statement I took to mean I should be inside of my car with the window rolled down.

So I got in the car and rolled down the window.
He then walked up to my window and mumbled "License and insurance, I'm officer so-and-so with the such-and-such police department."  Without a "thank you for your cooperation" or any acknowledgement that we had interacted at all before this exact moment in time.
At this point, all I'm capable of doing is trying not to cry.  I think, if he'd been a little nicer, I would have been more composed, but as it was . . .
I could tell he would have hated me if I'd started crying, so I didn't.

But I couldn't think straight.

I started searching for the insurance, but I was in my Dad's car, so I didn't know where it was.  I kept trying to explain to him why I was digging around so much in the glove compartment, but I think he got a little nervous . . .
He said (rather gruffly) "Ma'am, just give me your license."
So I did, and he immediately asked me if the address was correct.
Of course it wasn't.  So then he asked me how long I'd lived at my current address.

I couldn't remember.

I could not remember how long I'd lived here.  In fact, I couldn't even remember my address.
That is the kind of state I'd worked myself into.  How pitiful.

He then asked me if I was aware that I had thirty days, after moving to a new address, to inform the DPS of my new address.  I may or may not have told a white lie here.  I said no, I was not aware of that.
He just shook his head and said (with a large dramatic sigh beforehand, the only bit of personality he showed the whole entire time) "Ma'am, could you please find your insurance?"

Then, of course, I found the insurance as soon as I looked into the glove compartment.  So I handed it to him.  He took it silently, and I stared straight out of my windshield in a last-ditch effort to compose myself.
As in, the tears were about to pour out of my eyes and I didn't know how much longer I could contain them.

Then I heard him say "Standby."
I was not at all sure whether he was directing that command at me or someone else.  For a moment I thought he was calling in the backup officers and was about to arrest me for who-knows-what.

But I turned to face him, and he said to me, with the least possible amount of expression in his voice,
"Well ma'am, it's your lucky day.  I've been called to another call, so I'll have to leave."

Then, do not ask me why, I looked him in the eye and said "Oh, I'm sorry," complete with a sad look on my face and the tears which were welling up anyway.
Yes, I said that, as if it was my party and he had to leave early or something.

He looked at me like I was crazy (which he probably had a right to do) and said "Ma'am, please just slow down," his voice finally expressing the frustration he must have felt with me all along.

And I'm pretty sure we both drove away extremely glad to have that experience behind us.

And I went to the DPS and changed the address on my license.
Just in case I forget again.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


So, a while back, I went on a picnic at the zoo with a few friends.

We were sitting at the picnic table just chatting, and I noticed the Hispanic family that was next to us.  They were  clearly having a good time, running around, playing, joking, and just loving each other like a family should.

Then they all got together to take a picture.  The mother and the children posed together, and the father had the camera.  Right before he snapped the picture, he told his family to say "queso."

At first I sort of laughed to myself thinking it was a funny joke.  But then I realized none of them were laughing.  They just said "queso" and took the picture.

It was crazy to think that this family actually thought that was the thing to do before you took a picture.
They just translated an American custom directly into their native language without questioning why we say "cheese."


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Does This Kind of Stuff Happen to Other People?

What would you do if you were sitting at a stop light with your windows down and heard a voice say, "What's with the (insert make and model of your car here)?"

Well, if you were me, you'd know without a doubt that your car is the only one that could possibly be referenced, because only about six people in your small town even drive this car and none of them are at this stop-light at this exact moment, except you, of course.

So, you would turn to find a man in, of course, a white van with no markings and no windows past the front two.
(Is anyone else immediately terrified by this kind of vehicle?)
And the man would be literally leaning out his window toward your car and saying "No air conditioning?" while he actually could be driving ahead and not holding up traffic because he has a green light.

You, who are turning left, do not have a green light, and must stay right where you are and carry on a civil conversation with this man, so you say "Nope, no air conditioning."

He proceeds to say "I'm so sorry about that."
You just say "I'm fine" and glance significantly at the light just in case, in all this time that he's been sitting here, he hasn't noticed that the light is green.
He finally gets the message and drives on.

Okay.  What would you do at this point?  I immediately looked around the inside of my car to make sure nothing was missing.  Am I too paranoid?  Is that crazy?
I mean, that poor man was probably just wanting to be nice and friendly.  But he was holding up a line of traffic at a green light . . . Just in order to be nice and friendly?
I don't know.  It was weird.  But every time I have an encounter like this, I leave it feeling like I am entirely too suspicious of people in general and need to have more faith in humanity . . . And work on my "I-am-a-strong-and-confident-woman-and-you-shouldn't-even-think-about-messing-with-me" look.