I’d finished the group trainer ride shortly after 7pm,
I suppose this is when I should have realized I was doomed. Not for any reason other than I am me, and I seem to attract troublesome or bizarre situations wherein I feel my life may be temporarily suspended for stupidity.
I am driving, singling along to Airborne Toxic Event on the radio when I make a right handed turn onto West Saanich Road, a mere few minutes from home. There is a long line of sirens going, and at first I thought it must be an accident. Upon closer examination, and looking at the line of cars stopped, I realized with a sinking pit in my stomach that I had just stumbled across a Checkstop. Victoria loves their Checkstops. I have been through four since February, which actually beats my grand total of all-time rolled through Checkstops before my move here. Because the drunk driving law is airtight here, it seems to be a common occurrence, not that I made a practice of having a few cocktails and then trying to dodge the law home (rest assured, Mum and Dad).
I don't like Checkstops for a few reasons. 1. They make me very nervous. Although I never drink + drive, for some reason the lights, the suited-up cops, and cars pulled over increases my resting heart rate and overall anxiety. 2. I am always afraid more unrelated questioning will follow. Ie: Why do you have Alberta plates? Do you know your right blinker only occasionally works? Have you paid your recent parking ticket? Unfounded these fears usually are. I don't have anything to hide! This time, however, I kept swallowing down big gulping worries. I was completely naked under my jacket, and I wasn't sure if somehow this was breaking a law. Indecent exposure? I would have grabbed my phone and done a quick google search, but I also didn't want to get nailed on driving + texting. They take that stuff pretty serious now a days.
So I slowly inch my car up to the officer, hoping to God it is a young guy.
The officer taps on my window and I roll it down. I likely have the appearance of someone who is about to lie to a police officer about drinking and driving. My heart is pounding inside my ears, I can feel sweat pooling on my temples. Shit, shit, shit. I manage a weak smile and a squeaky voice.
He takes a quick look at me and shines his flashlight into the car. He asks me where I am coming from (downtown), where I am going to (home) and if I have had anything to drink (no). He smiles at me and for a moment, sweet relief. I am in the clear! I'm going to have managed my way through a Checkstop with no problems, without having to step out of the car to reveal my blue coat and red Toms as the only items I am wearing, and will live to tell the tale. I am jubilant in my smile as I thank him and begin to roll up my window.
Wait, he suddenly says.
He leans all the way into the car, so sure I am he can see my bare legs, I can almost feel myself begin to cry. He is going to ask me, are you wearing any clothes? Are you aware I can arrest you on the spot? What makes you think you can get away with this?
He shines his light past me into the back of the jeep.
Is that a road bike you have there? He inquires, his face a genuine question mark.
For the next few moments we chatted. Yes, that is my road bike. Yes, I did ride it on a trainer. Turns out the cop just bought himself a used Trek bike and had been fiddling around on it. I can't figure out those clips, he chuckled to me, and I assured him that the pedals would come easier to him the more he practised. In fact, I said, most cyclists when they begin take a few hard falls. Thanking me, and sharing in our little cycling secret, off I drove into the dark, homeward bound.
Saved by the bike!