Friday night was the rehearsal for Megan and Rachel’s wedding. They asked me to ring the bell at the church. It turns out to be much harder than it looks. I thought I’d be pulling on a rope. It was more like climbing a mountain. Megan’s parents had a party in their backyard afterwards. I didn’t want to drink all night so I started to collect garden slugs. They were everywhere.
The wedding was beautiful. I forgot my video camera in the car. Lisa did a reading. It was a big crowd. The minister was a no bullshit kind of gal. ADD and Church don’t mix. I wish I could stand going to church. I think I would like this minister.
I know I’m grown up now. When Megan and Rachel kissed I didn’t blurt out “That’s what I came here to see.”
The reception was at an old mansion estate turned into a park. Beer and wine flowed freely all night. I had a few. I also know my limit. That’s why I wasn’t worried when the cops pulled out a breathalyzer.
No I didn’t get pulled over. I should back up a bit here and explain. Thursday night I drove up and down route 97 and finally passed the wear in period. Now I can drive my land yacht the way it was meant to be driven. I have been driving a truck built for driving where there are no roads for two weeks now. I put it in 4wd for less then 10 minutes during that time. I wanted to drive where I could lock the differential and really put it to the test.
Massachusetts has closed almost all access to state park trails. They’ve also closed access to fire roads and powerline gullies. There are no places to legally drive off road in Essex County. Now that I’m a pillar of the community I’m not interested in getting arrested for trespassing. I do have one option open to me. On the way home from the wedding I passed by some land Lisa and I own. The Commonwealth has severly restricted our use of the land to the point that we are forced to let it lie fallow. A small forest is growing up on the land. It’s rough and unmanaged. It’s a perfect test for my new monster truck.
I got about 300 feet in and was turning around when the first Dodge Charger blazes his strobes off in the distance. I turn off my truck. It takes the officer a couple minutes to stumble through the woods in the dark. It was also raining pretty heavily at this point.
“What are you doing back here.”
“Officer you’re probably not going to believe this but I own this land and I just bought this truck last week. I’ve been dieing to test it off road and couldn’t think of anywhere else to bring it.”
“Can I see your license and registration. Have you been drinking tonight?”
“Officer I’m stuck in the woods in the rain. Obviously alcohol is involved.”
“Have you been drinking tonight?”
“Yes quite a lot.”
He talks on his radio for 10 minutes. Another Dukes of Hazzard car pulls up. This officer makes it through the woods a little more nimble then the first. He’s holding a breathalizer.
“Do you know the address of this land? How long have you owned it?”
“There are no houses so I don’t think the lots have addresses. I know the registration numbers are on page 35 of Essex County Plan Book number 105. My family has owned the land 40 years. It was just transferred to my wife a few months ago. If you’ve got an internet connection in your car I can show you the Salem Deeds registry.”
“You’re not in any trouble right now but we want to test you to see if you’re OK to drive home.” I see dollar signs in these boys eyes as they contemplate a successful arrest on an otherwise boring night.
“Officer, I just had surgery on my ankles so if you want me to stand still on one foot I can’t.”
“We want you to blow into this tube. You’ll hear a beep and a click.”
“When was this machine calibrated?”
“I don’t know. Every month. We have that at the station.”
The first test fails to register. I’m not blowing hard enough. The two officers are yelling at me to blow harder. They ask me to take the test again. I reply that the machine will then be out of calibration. You have to wait between tests to get an accurate reading. They tell me to take the test again. I tell them I am now getting nervous and would like to take any further tests in front of their dashboard camera. The first officer tells me that they don’t have dashboard cameras. (I looked up the Wenham PD and I can’t find one way or another if the cameras are there. I did find out they paid 27 grand for the cars so I’m guessing the police were telling the truth. No way they came with cameras for that price.)
I finally blow a successful test. 0.06 which is approximately one beer in one hour. Below the legal limit for intoxication in every state but Colorado. The police change their tune with me. Suddenly I’m not a drunk menacing the woods but a property owner making use of my land.
“I did have a lot to drink but I stopped a couple hours ago, ate dinner, had coffee, ate cake. I didn’t think I was drunk anymore.”
“Yes sir. We just wanted to make sure you were safe to drive home. Would you like us to help you turn around?”
The police then spend 10 minutes spotting for me while I make a 3 point turn between the trees without getting high centered on the bolder that forced me to turn around in the first place. The rock rails kept me from completely smashing in the side a couple times. That was money well spent! There is a small dent above the back wheel and a big dent in one of my clamshell doors. No scratches into the paint and nothing ripped off my under carriage. I got back out to the street no problem.
“Admit it officer. You want one of these now.”