So, while I was stupidly giggling about my accidentally-patriotic paper towels last week and having a warm fuzzy moment, Kenny was having a different cosmic experience that I couldn’t help but document. Posterity and all, you know? (I love you, Honey!)
For you to get the proper feel for the universe’s darkly twisted sense of humor, I need to tell you about Kenny’s whole week. He started a new job with C.R. England at the very end of May, and while he loves his new job (mostly), there were some gaping holes in his training, and he has been left to figure things out on his own. He decided that it would be helpful to get to work at least 30 minutes early, so he could set up his daily priorities without having to take inbound calls. Monday and Tuesday, he slept in late. He made it to work on time, but only just barely. Then, on his way home Tuesday night, he put on his prescription sunglasses before he left the building and forgot to pick up his regular glasses to switch out once he got home. He was forced to wear his sunglasses inside for the night, and I can’t recall a time in our 15 years of marriage when he’s willingly allowed so many lights to be on at once. (Hee.) Wednesday morning, he got up early, but couldn’t find his keys. We did a whole-house search and came up empty, so I sent him with the spare set and promised to keep looking for the keys. He came back into the house almost immediately with a sheepish grin on his face, holding the extra set of keys. Guess where he found his set? Go on, guess.
In the ignition, in the “on” position.
Of course his battery was dead, and of course the jumper cables were in his trunk, which is only able to be opened electronically, which you can’t do with a dead battery. Luckily, our neighbor was awake and outside at 7:10 AM, and he had a set of long cables we could borrow. Car jumped, husband on his way, and after a gas tank fill-up, he made it to work on time, but only just barely. Again.
Friday morning, he woke up with his alarm, but decided to sleep until mine went off, too. I hit the snooze bar and lifted my arm to stretch, just as he was leaning over my shoulder to look at the time. I popped him in the eye with my elbow, and since he was wearing his glasses, of course I knocked one of his lenses out. (He can’t see a thing without his glasses unless it’s inches away from his face, and he struggled to fix them for at least ten minutes while I stood there sincerely apologizing, and also saying supportive things like, “You know you’re blind. Let me try it.” After which he threw them at me in defeat and headed into the shower, and I got the lens back in on the first try.) Also, do you know what he would have done had I not fixed his glasses on my first try? Put in his contacts. Which would have been helpful to think of on Tuesday night, when he was feeling around in the (not really) dark like a mole in his extra-dark-tint prescription sunglasses.
[I had a quick phone conversation with my sister on Friday morning, and I told her about breaking Kenny’s glasses. She told me that Kenny would need to go live at their house for a week, to rebuild his self-esteem after the week he had. I was laughing. She was serious.]
Okay, so did you notice I skipped Thursday? Thursday was special. Thursday will live forever in infamy.
Thursday morning, just minutes after I kissed him and sent him out the door with some pop tarts and a cup of milk, I got a phone call about 7:15 AM. “Hey,” he said. “I have some bad news. I just got pulled over for a ticket. I’m so sorry!”
I laughed and said, “So much for going in early… AGAIN.” I told him I hoped he had a better day, and then the kids woke up, and I promptly forgot about Kenny’s ticket.
He called me again about 10:00 AM, which he does almost every day, and he asked me if I wanted the good news or the bad news. THINKING HE WAS AT WORK, I picked good. “Well,” he said, “they didn’t find anything.” My mind was racing, trying to figure out what he could possibly be talking about. Who found what? Was he at the clinic? Did he hurt himself at work?
“Okay…” I said. “What’s the bad news?”
“I’m still here.”
“Here? Where’s here?”
“Here. At the police station.”
“WHAT?!?!?!” (I’d like to say I was calm, but I would be lying. What I said probably came out as an unintelligible string of unfinished thoughts, because I’m awesome like that. And calm in all situations. Ahem.)
So, here’s the story of how my husband was not really arrested, but still put in the back of a police cruiser and hauled off to the station for questioning about… wait for it… drugs in his car.
The officer who pulled him over wrote him a ticket for going 70 mph in a 65 mph zone. He was entering the freeway interchange, when suddenly everyone slammed on their brakes. Instead of crashing into the back of the car ahead of him, he pulled into a clear lane, which the officer thought was reckless. To compound the problem, when Kenny went to reach for his wallet, he discovered that he had forgotten it, which meant no driver’s license. He knew his DL number, so he told the officer, who looked it up on his computer. Then Kenny called me.
When the officer came back to give him his ticket (for 5 miles over!) he leaned into the car and was surprised by a certain… aroma. An earthy, musty smell that I assumed was carpet mildew, because every time it rains, the floor of the back passenger side gets mysteriously soaked. You know what happens when you assume? Your husband is accused of having drugs in his car, because that mildew smell was SO TOTALLY NOT mildew, but wet marijuana leaves, instead.
(I’ve taken to calling my husband “Mary” now, because I’m supportive like that. And also, kind-hearted, warm, affectionate, compassionate, and not at all cruel or taunting. Go on, tell me that ISN’T a hilarious nickname. Or that HE wouldn’t do the same if it was ME in this situation.)
The officer asked if Kenny had drugs in his car or on his person, to which Kenny replied a vehement “NO!” He permitted them to search his car, where they found nothing, but because the smell was so strong, the officer confiscated his cell phone, put him in custody (but NOT under arrest, because that makes it so much LESS SCARY) and had another officer drive his car into a UHP garage, where they brought out a drug-sniffing dog. (It turns out the dog also likes pop tarts and milk, but I’ll get to that in a minute.) The dog smelled traces of drugs, but apparently the signs he was giving off meant the drugs were old, so in the interest of “public safety” (Did you catch the sarcasm? Because if you didn’t, go back and read it again. Maybe make air quotes with your fingers to fully convey the incredible amount of sarcasm I’m trying to express.), they ripped Kenny’s car apart, looking for these “old” drugs that may or may not still be behind the door panels, in the dashboard, under the carpet, or in the trunk.
Now, in all fairness to the UHP, I learned that moldy pot does release some sort of toxic spore into the air, so it’s probably a good thing that they checked so thoroughly. I do, however, take issue with the way they put the car back together [air quotes]. The dashboard wasn’t put back on correctly, so there’s a huge gap where it should meet the console- but doesn’t!- and the carpeting is a mess. The door panels are wobbly. To add insult to injury, when they finished the search, the (non)arresting officer said something along the lines of, “So, you know it was like this already”, which it totally wasn’t, and then made a vague threat about adding more to Kenny’s ticket if he protested. The officer suggested that the car was used as a drug transport before we bought it, and one of the shipments must have gotten wet and leached into the carpet. He suggested we get a new car, because it will always smell like wet marijuana leaves, and if Kenny ever gets pulled over again, he’ll face a similar scenario. The lingering smell is SO strong, not even three fragrance bombs could clear it out, and I am just now reminded of the “Seinfeld” episode with the mutant B.O.
(Fantastic. First this, and now this. My life is turning into a sitcom about NOTHING! And I can’t seem to get the nasty smell out of my hair!)
Okay, so back to the story: Kenny had been sitting in a Utah Highway Patrol garage, sequestered from his phone (but not under arrest, just under intimidation), unable to call me or his work. He was now more than two hours late to a new job with no idea what was going on, no idea when they’d be finished, no idea what they’d find, no idea when he’d get phone privileges, no idea if he’d even have a job to go to after being a no-show, and no breakfast. The adrenaline rush and the lack of food meant my diabetic husband had significantly low blood sugar, so someone got his lunch out of the car and brought it to him, all smashed and warm where the dog had stepped on it and it had been sitting in the sun.
FINALLY, at about 9:45 AM (perhaps you’ll recall that the time on his ticket was 7:16) they released him to go to work. He asked someone to please call his supervisor and corroborate his story, because who could come up with such a ridiculous tale and NOT be lying? Really, from a simple ticket (for 5 miles over!!) to a UHP garage and a drug-sniffing dog and a complete body cavity search (of the car, not my husband), it’s just too ridiculous to be imagined. Luckily, his supervisor’s supervisor had a good sense of humor about it (or maybe he was so confused by the story he gave up trying to comprehend it), and he told Kenny to come in to work when he was ready. After a quick stop at home to pick up his wallet, get a hug from his family and endure some good-natured teasing from his wife, Kenny was headed into work a mere three hours after his initial departure.
My FAVORITE part of the story (made better by his impersonation, so if you know us in real life, be sure to ask!) was when Kenny got back into the car and noticed some dog hairs floating in his cup of warm milk. When he moved it up for a closer look, the officer thought he was going to drink it, and yelled at him to put it down. “The dog was drinking out of your cup,” the officer said sheepishly. “I think he ate your pop tarts, too.”
Pop tarts which were wrapped in– you guessed it!– patriotic paper towels.
Oh, the irony.