The call came right on time, which surprised me. Reaching down, I grabbed my earbuds and fumbled to plug them into my phone. “Hello!” I chirped, greeting my friend. Sunlight sprinkling through trees dappled the road before me as I pulled out onto Redding Road.
It wasn’t long before I realized driving and talking just wasn’t going to work. The friend on the other end of the line was a former Teachers College colleague, and we needed — well, I needed– to talk through some staff development ideas for an upcoming day of professional development I would be leading. I needed to take some notes, jot some things down. I needed to pull over.
Glancing around, I studied the shoulder of the road: narrow, grassy. With a steep drop-off. Better be careful here, I thought. Slowing down, I flipped on my left-turn signal. Gingerly, I pulled the car to the side of the narrow road and activated my hazard lights. Great! Now I can get some of this down on paper. Seizing my blue Pilot gel pen, I silently celebrated.
It was perhaps around three minutes later when I noticed it. At first, I wasn’t sure. But then my peripheral vision began to pull my attention away. Looking back now, I am guessing it may have been the color scheme of the car that had inched up next to me: black and white. Maybe that’s what somehow drew my attention from the notepad in the passenger’s seat to the driver’s side window? Whatever it was, there it was.
And there he was.
An officer of the law, now blocking traffic, lowered his window. I lowered mine. As anyone can likely imagine, several thoughts raced around my mind, like fruit-flies suddenly startled off a ripe peach. Was I doing something illegal? I actually wasn’t sure.
Then came his words: “You okay?” he asked. Not sure exactly how to respond, I explained that I had pulled off the road so that I didn’t have to talk and drive at the same time. I left the part about taking notes out. “Alright,” he said. He seemed to be satisfied with this response. “Just wanted to make sure you were okay.” And off he went.
The fruit-flies settled. Shaking my head, I went back to taking notes.