I was leaving Riley’s school the other day and, woolgathering, absentmindedly got up to the surrounding neighborhood speed while still in the school zone and that is of course when I saw the flashing reds and blues in the rearview. The cop was pleasant enough, asking if there was maybe a legal reason I was going 34 when I was supposed to be creeping along at 20, to which I said no because I guess “Forgot about the law while trying to figure out basketball practice logistics while also toe-tapping to that annoyingly catchy Imagine Dragons song from Wreck-It Ralph 2” probably isn’t a legal reason.

He asked me to produce my license and registration and after nervously announcing that I was going to reach into the glove box if that was okay (yes, I realize if *I* am skittish about traffic stops I have no idea what it’s like to not be a Mom-mobile-driving white lady getting pulled over, privilege is recognized) I pulled out the envelope containing my paperwork and that’s when I saw this:

I think John put that in there at least 5 years ago, maybe more. I haven’t had a ticket since 2009 or so, so I’d completely forgotten about it. I showed it to the cop, who laughed so hard he slapped the top of my rolled-down window. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never seen that!” he snorted. “Your husband is a piece of work.”

“You have no idea,” I said, thinking specifically of the time I sat on the toilet only to discover John had put a bunch of leftover Fourth of July firecrackers under the seat.

When the cop came back he announced that he had decided to reduce my ticket for my honesty and because he was so amused by the envelope. “I guess it wasn’t entertaining enough for a warning, though,” I said, and he smiled and shook his head. Still, he reduced my recorded speed enough to lower the fine and I can go to a traffic school class to have it taken off my record completely.

So my advice to you is this: put something funny on that envelope you keep in your glove box. You never know. If nothing else, maybe it’ll cheer you up while you’re parked on the Road Shoulder of Shame.


It has been bitingly cold lately and John has been teasing me for leaving my electric heating pad on the couch. “It’s such an old person thing to have,” he says. “It’s like having a bedpan lying there.”

“It is NOT,” I say indignantly, but it’s true there’s something a little, ah, aged about the way it looks: the flimsy fabric covering, the mouse-tail of a white cord winding its way through the cushions.

Maybe more than the thing itself is the assortment of things: my side of the couch is next to an end table where I usually have a small pile of books, magazines, my cellphone, a glass of water, and at least one crumpled-up tissue. My laptop lap desk is on the floor within reach, the special pillow that I always hold on my lap while watching TV is nearby. Now there’s the heating pad. It has the hallmark of an elderly person’s nest, this scattering of creature comforts and necessities. Every hospice patient I’ve visited has a nest, usually one next to their bed and another next to a well-worn easy chair. I’m only missing the magnifying glass and bible.

My bedside has a different set of easy-grabs: jar of melatonin gummies, hand cream, earplugs, headphones, lip balm. And really, when you think about the immense dreariness of having to stagger out of bed multiple times per night to deal with an ever-shrinking bladder, a bedpan doesn’t sound like such a bad addition.


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