First Car Memories: Good Times and Getting Arrested

What a beauty.  No that's not an Audi, it's a Honda!  
I saw my old car on the road the other day. The exact one. A bronzish 1985 Honda Accord hatchback, with dent in the front grill.  It was like seeing a former girlfriend, and temporarily I was flooded with only the good moments (like we all do).  Suddenly, I was tempted to follow the car, accost the owner, and swap titles straight across (even though my current vehicle is easily a few grand more valuable).

My wife hated that car (like she hates my ex-girlfriend). A trip down memory lane would only cause heartburn for myself later.  There is no way, marriage intact, that I will ever own an '86 Accord ever again.  Especially my old car. The one that got me arrested. The one that must be pushing 300K miles by now.

Which is probably good, because as much as the 1980s might be alive in my high school right now, a neglected mid-80s Honda will not be in the next Fast & Furious movie.  Fast & Furious 7: This Franchise is so Old and Lame, it's Now Retro.  I don't even want my dumb old car.

Memories are just so damn strong.

That car was running like a champ at 187,000 miles when I traded it in for my third car (a black '94 Nissan Altima).  Trading in that car, was akin to trading in my youth.  It survived three serious relationships. It made it longer than 12 roommates.  I went to two different colleges in that car.  It had, as the American Pickers guys like to say, patina to it. My patina.

My wife would call that rust. She always said my car was brown. She's obviously never seen what age does to copper (no, it wasn't green...just off-copper).  Officially, Honda called the color Copper-Brown, but my wife won't relent on the color. It was ugly, she no likee.

Somewhere around 150 thousand miles, the front struts ceased to exist.  Because I didn't know what struts were, or that a thing called "suspension" was important to a vehicle's integrity, I thought this new vehicular peculiarity only added to the car's personality.  If I hit the brakes the right way, the car rocked forward than bounced back.  If I pumped my brakes, the car bopped like Pedro's cousin's Pontiac in Napoleon Dynamite.  Hydraulics without the hassle.

Yet for six years, that vehicle was just reliable. I got my last ticket in that car, in 1998.  I also got pulled over and arrested in that car.

Yes, you heard that correctly. Arrested. Pushed up against the side of the car like a common thug.

Perhaps some people foresee an arrest or two in their lifetime.  I, however, was just as shocked as Reese Witherspoon that my civil liberties were being violated.  Here's how it went down:

I was driving to my brother's work (a church youth-group), where I had left my wallet the night before when I had paid for a pizza to be delivered.  I had called my brother the night before to tell him I had left my wallet somewhere in his office by accident, but he forgot to bring it home with him as well.  I needed my wallet, so I headed the 1.5 miles to his work to get it.

About 1/3 of a mile from my destination, the whirp-whirp of the five-o sounded behind me as I exited one freeway for another.  Disjointed, I turned into a local plaza, the Delta Oaks Shopping Center, which used to have a G.I.joes Sporting Goods store.  I pulled into an empty parking spot.  I thought I was going to be warned about a rear license plate light being out.  (Cops are always pulling over youth for cheap reasons).

I had my registration and proof of insurance ready. He would easily understand the situation with my license and wallet.

"License and registration, sir."

"Actually, it's kind of a funny story, I'm literally on my way to my brother's work to get my wallet, but here's my..."

"Step outta the car, son, you are under arrest."  (Suddenly I was no longer a sir, but a son...that wasn't good).

"Uh, what?  I was just..."

But there was no time for excuses, the officer opened my door, helped me (jostled me) out of my car and started reading me my rights.  My Miranda rights!

"What is going on, all I did was..."

Actual footage of my arrest.  I looked young for my age.  
"Sir, anything you say can and will be used against you..."

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!  I'M NO TERRORIST OR MURDERER!  Yet, like all innocent people completely overwhelmed with a suddenly spiraling situation, I started shaking and getting all blubbery.

"What did I do," I barely squeaked, as he pulled my arms behind my back.  A family of four just merrily made their way out of G.I.joe's, bags in hand.  "Daddy, look at that criminal getting arrested!"

He pushed me over to his squad car and kind of pushed me in.  I sat in there for 20 minutes (if felt like 5 hours) never knowing that there were groves built-in for arms behind your back.  My head sat guiltily against the plexiglass separator.

The cop searched my vehicle.  He said something about a "stolen" vehicle.  I tried, unsuccessfully, to repeat my story to him. His first few wives probably complained about his lack of "listening skills" as well (oh sorry, that's conjecture on my part).

Okay, my car was gross...but this... I just barfed a little.  
Finally, after searching through the filth-fest that was my passenger seat and rear seats (I basically lived in that papers, fast-food wrappers, dead rats trying to make a home in the debris; it was a little poetic justice that he dug through my detritus trying to find evidence, and only concluded that I was a slob).

He finally called my roommate who somehow described exactly what I was wearing that day and my physical details (almost creepily...I heard the whole conversation).

He did me a favor (that's cop speak for sarcasm) by writing me the maximum ticket for my tags being expired by one day.  ONE DAY. This was what gave him the right to pull me over.  It was March 1st.  My tags expired the last day of February.  He also wrote me another $100 ticket for driving without a license.

He explained the law by showing me the smallest addendum to the postscript of the appendix of a minor law in his police codebook. He thought my vehicle was stolen (another Accord had been stolen that day).  He didn't ask me any questions.  He saw a 20-year-old boy who couldn't comply with his demands. And he saw it as an opportunity to find some contraband.

If there was anything "illicit" in that vehicle, it had coagulated on its own. It was a festering concoction of discarded junk. But last time I looked, being a disgusting human being wasn't against the law.

I finished my drive to my brother's work, shaking in anger. That car, that guilty looking import car, adulterated my innocence. I was now an arrestee. What's next, a barbed wire armband tattoo?

So this last week, as I watched my former car lunch forward at the green light, I thought: is it good memories, or Stockholm Syndrome, that had me misremembering my former car?

Employee of the Month: Only worth it for the Costco homages and Honda CVCC jokes. 

Either way, my wife was right. That car sucked. Hopefully, no ex-girlfriends will try to kidnap me, because I seem to have easily manipulatable memories.


  1. There's always fond memories of first cars, aren't there? The freedom they come with permanently mark them on our brain. It is nice to know I'm not the only blogger who's been arrested!

    1. Yeah. I didn't know if I should call it my "first" car, because I shared my dad's Chevy Silverado for two years of High School. However, it was the first car under my name on the that's what I go by.

      Arrestees UNITE!

  2. How funny! I can just picture it.

    This reminds me of the night I was driving home after a friend's wedding in my "boat"...a Pontiac Catalina...I can't even remember what year. I pulled up toward a toll booth. As I leaned across the substantially wide bench seat to get my purse which had slid to the far side, the steering wheel moved with me. I had to swerve sharply to avoid hitting the booth. I paid the toll, and pulled away. Immediately, I saw the flashing lights. I pulled over, got out my license and registration (both thankfully valid). The officer asked me where I had been that night. At a wedding. "Had I had much to drink?" Actually, nothing at least nothing alcoholic. He beamed his flashlight into the car, obviously looking for empty bottles. He found none. Finally, he commented that I had been driving badly, and I explained about the purse. He let me go.

    As I drove on, I realized I needed to clean my windshield. I used the washer fluid and wipers, but that didn't do a very good job, and there wasn't enough fluid to finish cleaning properly. Even so, I could still see fairly well as long as no oncoming cars shone their headlights on the grime. When I faced an oncoming car, I slowed to a crawl speed so I didn't drive far with impaired vision.

    Then, to top it all off, I started to get sleepy, but I was not far from home, so I kept going, slapping my cheeks every once in a while to keep awake. Evidently, the sleepiness showed in my driving. Once again, I saw the flashing lights. Once again, I pulled over and got out my license and registration. Once again, the officer (a different one this time) asked where I had been, how much I had been drinking, and shone his flashlight over the floor of my car. Once again, he found nothing. As I was obviously wide awake by this time, he could also tell that my speech did not sound even remotely like I was drunk. I admitted that I had been sleepy, but that after the scare he gave me, I was sure I was awake enough to make it safely the last five minutes until I got home. He let me go with a reminder to be careful.

    I find it quite ironic that I was stopped twice in one night for drunk driving...and I have never had more alcohol than communion wine whenever I happen to visit a church that doesn't use grape juice. Well,... except for that Halloween party in college when the soccer players on our brother floor spiked the cider....What can I say?!? I just thought the cider was tangy. At least I only had to walk across a parking lot to get to my dorm.

    1. Tangy cider, you say? Ha ha. I actually am not that fond of most alcohols, but I do like a "tangy" apple cider.

      Copy and paste this onto your blog. One free entry. It's good. I've never been pulled over for suspected drunk driving, so you've got one (or is that two) on me.

  3. OMG, you were arrested??? You're more bad-ass than I thought.
    Haha, just kidding. I'd have been so pissed. I probably would've cried angry tears while at the same time spouting obscenities at the cop, because I don't like cops. Makes for a great story though, huh?

    1. I told one of my "Revolutionary" co-workers about my blog this week, and was telling him how I wrote about getting arrested. He too thought I was suddenly a "bad-ass," but it quickly faded when he realized how tame my story was. He was in the USSR when Tiennamen Square happened in China, and was in East Germany when the Wall came down. So he has a number of "infractions" around the world.

      My four referrals, two Saturday schools, and a poem written to me by a college professor are the extent of my "pushing the envelope."

  4. I can't believe he arrested you without even asking you anything! Oh my gosh I would have been so scared! I loved my first car too. It was a 1968 VW Bug (so many people had these as their first cars). Two or three times a week, I would be driving along and the gas pedal would thunk to the floor while the engine revved and I went nowhere. I would have to turn it off,go the the back, open the engine compartment and flip a little lever on the go cart motor to fix it. I have no idea why it did this I just know it was partial to doing it at the worst times. On a hill, in the rain and almost always in the middle of a busy intersection. I miss that car...ummm no I really don't but I do have fond memories of learning to drive a stick and my first real independence. Thanks for making me laugh as usual. =) Elena

    1. I had a friend with a VW Bug and it was very similar. I also nearly died in a '46 Ford truck with a Corvette 327 engine...the car died right before an intersection going 35 mph, and I had to turn the manual steering wheel while skidding. I never drove that vehicle ever again.

    2. Probably a good move on your part. did you crash or make it unscathed? Inquiring minds want to know.


    3. No crash, but I barely avoided the opposite lane's ditch. Had a car been oncoming, it would've been a head-on
      collision. It scared me so badly I didn't drive any car for a week or so.

  5. If that was me, I'd have been sobbing in the back seat!! I've never been arrested, but I've been pulled over a few times, and in none of those times did I ever feel heard; mostly, I just felt terrified and belittled. Ugh. Cops are the worst! It's so not cool how you were unfairly arrested and then given TWO tickets! What a butthead! (keepin' it PG with my name calling)

    1. Well it was really my only negative experience with Cops. However, I was potentially shedding a few tears in the back seat. This can not be confirmed or denied. Frustration often leads to tears. It's not crying. Right?

    2. Totally just a bodily reaction. Can't be helped.