I got a speeding ticket today, and came away feeling…relieved.
Yes, this was partly due to the tactic of threatening the “perp” with extremely dire consequences and then mitigating them (“I’ll see what I can do”) so no reaction other than abject gratitude is seemly.
The officer – maybe 40 years old, very clean and correct (think Due South) – approached the car after pulling a Uey and flagging me down, with “Bonjour, Madame?” in that way we get used to when we are tagged as immigrants – probably non-French-speaking.
But he called me Madame – not like those two policemen near Thunder Bay who stopped me just because a woman of my colour was not supposed to be driving the white Caddy that my friend had leant me when my car broke down driving to Winnipeg. They leered, defiling my name with their tone of voice… Whose car is this, Dawn? (Not, “Are you the registered owner of this vehicle?”) Aha…your friend’s, eh? Are these all your children, Dawn? This was probably the first time my children experienced racists in authority. It was scary.
He was nothing like the two police who slowed down and cruised beside me as I walked down a deserted suburban street in Montreal, rolling down their window and asking me whether I wanted a lift – in heavily-accented English, dripping with sleaze. I muttered a quick “No” and felt lucky when they eventually sped off after driving beside me for a block that felt like forever.
Then there was the policeman in Lac-Megantic, who stopped me to ask where I was from, what I was doing there, how long I had been living in the area, and was I married – all while leaning in an oh-so-friendly way on my opened window with his elbows.
It’s true, I’m no longer young and sexy, and have lost the vulnerability that this implies. Old-and-most-likely-ornery gets treated with quite a bit more respect, I am finding. While today’s officer seemed a bit startled, maybe confused, by me (She looks East Indian but she has a feather where the car deodorizer or fuzzy dice or multi-armed god statue should be, there’s a husky in the car and she speaks quebecois ), he was at least polite, and not condescending. “I understand. These things happen, Madame.” Well…I don’t think he was being condescending….
As he was doing the background check, the only thing I was concerned about was how much it was going to cost. None of the rest of this occurred to me until I drove away. What a luxury, to only be worried about the money, and not my life….