Tuesday, September 4, 2007

When taking a sobriety test can be awesome.

Over the holiday weekend, RDukes retired to his lake villa in Wisconsin with his better half. After a long drive, I had a several beers. Then I went to sleep. Pretty boring story, right? Not if the coppers on the Menominee reservation have anything to say about it (which they did). Let's continue the story.

After a good rest, I awoke 8 hours later and drove into town to pick up some supplies (donuts and ice, to be exact). I was cruising at 50mph, which is the speed limit for most of that road. Unfortunately, I happened to be on the stretch that was 35mph. A copper driving the other direction pulled a u-turn and pulled my sorry ass over.

But that's not the end of this long, drawn out story. Not even close. The female copper comes up to my window and said something about speeding. Blah, blah. She asked if that case of beer in my backseat was open. It wasn't. Then she asked if I had been drinking...

I said, "nope."

She said, "were you drikning last night?".

"I was."

"What time did you stop?" the copper said.


"What time did you start?" the copper said.

"9 o'clock."

"In the morning?"

"In the PM."

"When I walked over, I could smell alcohol right away." She took both of our licenses and went back to her squad car.

I leaned over to my wife so she could smell my breath...Mrs. RDukes doesn't drink, and she couldn't smell any alcohol on me. We figured I'd get a ticket and be done with it.

The officer was on the radio for a while. I forgot that Tribal police don't have jurisdiction over non-natives on the reservation. A white copper showed up from the county sherrif's office. The coppers conversed momentarily. Then Whitey came over and asked me, RDukes, to step out of the car. I obliged.

"The reason I asked you step out is because you reek of alcohol--in fact, when you stepped out, I could smell it right away. We'd like to give you a sobriety test."

"Um, ok," I said.

Now, most of the time, if you take a sobriety test stone-sober, you'd wouldn't expect to feel nervous. I was, though. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was the coppers' insistence that I smelled of alcohol that planted some self-doubt. Whatever the reason, I was probably as nervous as I would be had I been drinking.

Whitey copper proceeded to have me follow the tip of his pen with my eyes, not moving my head. It was particulary difficult for a few reasons, none of which involves alcohol. First, at this point, I'm nervous as fuck. Second, the sun was blasting down, making it particularly difficult to focus on a pen tip. Third, I'm pretty sure he moved it out of my periphery.

I think I failed that test, based on a comment Whitey made later.

Next up, the dreaded walk in a straight line test. I think I did fine on this, but let me tell you, the side of a road is slanted (for runoff, I assume) making it particularly difficult to walk in a straight line. Also, Whitey had me put one foot in front of the other and then took about two minutes to give his directions (walk one foot in front of the other 9 paces--count those paces out loud--then turn and do the same back). Kind of tough to do that hold that position. Plus, I was wearing my new Crocs (very comfortable, but not the best for taking a sobriety test).

Then, the words every driver likes to hear from an officer, "do you mind if I give you a breath test?". I said, "sure, I guess so." The more I thought about it, the more I was thinking I should refuse...I didn't want to chance that I had any alcohol in my system, even though I hadn't drank in nearly 8 hours. I was damn close to telling Whitey that I'd rather not take the test. But, I didn't want to go down to the police department and ruin my first day of the long weekend.

So, he brought the little breath gadget over. He told me to blow long and hard (Now you you know I wasn't drinking because I showed an amazing amount of restraint and didn't say, "that's what she said."). I blew. And then, the officer took the device back.

I waited and pondered for the brief moment that he took to read the result. Would I get a DUI (never had one before)? Would my weekend be ruined? Then I heard the most beatiful words I've ever heard, "Well, you blew zeroes."

I should've said something cool, like, "no shit, I haven't had a drink in 8 hours you prick."

But all I said was, "Thank fucking goodness. Sorry for my language. But you guys had me nervous."

"Well, you smell like you bathed in alcohol," Whitey said. "And do you have something wrong with your right eye, it twitched real bad during the pen test."

I said, "Not that I'm aware of. I think I was just nervous. And the sun was in my eyes."

Whitey said, "Since we put you through these tests, we'll let you off with a warning. Slow down on the road."

"Thank you," I said.

That's the conclusion to this long story and post.

Lesson learned from this experience: if you want to get out of a speeding ticket, pretend like you're drunk so they let you off when you blow zeroes.


Anonymous said...

Is it strange you like to "blow" zeros?

RDukes said...

Good question. But I'll blow anything that helps me not get a DUI.

Zachary said...

But did you get the donuts?

RDukes said...

Another good question.

The donuts were gotten. We also picked up some more booze from the gas station. I needed some extra alcohol to bathe in.