Last week, I heard the eight words no motorist wants to hear: "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
Just a few minutes after leaving home, I had noted a police vehicle perpendicularly approaching the intersection I was passing through. A quick glance in my rear-view showed the patrol car turning in behind me. I stayed on my best behavior, as far as I could tell, for another fraction of a mile and through one traffic-light change. Accelerating once the light turned green, I suddenly saw far more flashing lights in my mirrors. Either the officer had to get by me in search of more pressing matters or... yeah, I was being pulled over.
My window quickly down, awkward pleasantries exchanged; then the eight-word question, and my honest, "Actually, Officer, no I don't."
He told me that my passenger-side tail light was out and asked if I had known that. I hadn't. "Happens a lot," he said. "Many people find out when the police stop them. I need to see your license, registration, and insurance."
I gathered those documents, handed them over. After a quick riffle, he flashed my insurance card back my way. "Your insurance expired in September," he said. "I've got to write you a ticket for that."
"That must be an old card," I said, embarrassed. "My insurance is current."
The officer remained polite and pleasant. "Can you get the current insurance information on your phone?"he asked. I could and did. Moments later, I was dismissed, sans ticket.
Sixteen hours later, I'd printed an accurate insurance card and replaced one tail-light bulb. Whew.