Most women I know have figured out the best way to manage their hair by the time they’re out of high school. I was very glad when someone invented rollers. Not the kind for perms – those itty bitty things that took a good half hour to put in. No, I’m talking soupcan size rollers that we girls with super curly hair could use to pull the curl out. Believe it or not I still have the rollers I used back then and continue to use them. Oh – and they came in colors. Mine are purple, pink, pale blue, and bright orange. The orange ones are the biggest.
So – this is going back about 25 years. My friend, Pam, and I, along with three of our kids, conspired together to take a trip across country. Her sisters were in New Mexico and my family in California. We left upstate New York in her Mazda one afternoon with luggage, kids, and a burning desire to get there fast. We were out of Pennsylvania about midnight and kept on rolling. We made excellent time keeping to the Interstate and only stopping for gas and potty breaks. In no time at all we were in Oklahoma.
We hit a rest stop in the middle of nowhere and that’s when I decided my hair needed attending to. We expected to be at Pam’s sisters home that very day and I wanted to look nice. So I went into the restroom and put in three of my jumbo rollers. One orange and two purple right at the top and then pulled the rest of my hair back in an elastic. The hot Oklahoma air and rollers would pull my curl out and I’d look like a super model upon arrival.
It was 7:30 in the morning and my turn to drive. Not a soul on the road but us, either.
Have you ever been in Oklahoma? It’s flaaaaat. Nothing but highway and sagebrush for miles. Consequently I had no problem putting the pedal to the metal and moving us right along. Pam and I chatted and the kids slept on and off. Life was good.
Then I happened to glance in the rearview mirror and was surprised to see a pin dot on the horizon. The pin dot got bigger and seemed to be coming along at a fair clip.
“Look behind us,” I said to Pam.
“Uh, oh,” she said. “I think it’s a police car.”
Okay - This is my MO Every Single Time I know a cop is blazing up behind me – I slow down and pull over slightly so he can catch the bad guy who must be ahead of me. I never think they're after me.
Then Pam said, “How fast are you going?”
By then I’d slowed down to about 85. And didn’t that cop pull up beside me and signal me to pull over? And didn’t he have serial killers or drug dealers to chase – the ones who were getting away ahead of me? Ugh – and that’s when I remembered my rollers. That’s when I realized the cop was about to encounter a purple and orange crested space alien.
There wasn’t a thing I could do. I rolled down the window and handed him my license. I couldn’t look him in the eye. Space aliens are funny that way. We HATE it when we’re caught out in our orange and purple rollers.
Adding to my mortification was the fact that this Southern cop was M’am–ing me to death. They do that in the South, you know. If there had been two cops I would’ve been gang m’ammed.
“M’am, do you know I clocked you at 90 MPH?”
I stared straight ahead and mumbled something. I could FEEL that liar smirking. 90 MPH indeed! He gave me a safety lecture. He wrote out the ticket.
“Now, m’am, I’m going to have to take your license . . .”
At that I did look at him with my full alien dignity and tried to death ray him on the spot. It didn’t work. He kept on m’amming me.
It was probably the longest ten minutes of my life. Sitting there in that Mazda on an Oklahoma highway, being m’ammed and having my license taken away in my stupid soup can sized rollers.
But my ordeal was almost over . . .
“M’am, I’m going to give you a temporary license. When you’ve paid your fine, you’ll get it back. Have a nice day, m'am.”
Thus chastened, I crawled back onto the highway and Slowly headed for New Mexico secure in the knowledge there was one M’amming Oklahoma cop out there who had a doozy of an alien encounter to tell about – probably for the rest of his life.
PS: When you enter Oklahoma there are big green signs about the size of the Titanic telling you what your fine will be if you speed (really hard to read at 90 MPH). Needless to say I got highest honors - a $90 fine. Ugh.
Image: Evgeni Dinev Free Digital Photos