Monday, June 11, 2012

Breathalizer

They say we ought to make hay when the sun shines, and boy oh big big boy does the sun ever shine this time of year in the Southern Appalachians. There are yards to landscape, weddings to decorate, rivers to swim, people to visit, farms to start, festivals to set up big tents for, festivities to host and attend, and ram pumps to tinker with. Being a gardener and wildlife enthusiast, this is my prime time of year for working, making money and chipping away at big projects. I do this thing where I work pretty much all day every day, exerting copious amounts of physical and mental energy to take full advantage of the season and make enough metaphorical hay to last the entire winter to come. Problem is, even though I am enjoying better health and more consistent energy than I have in my life, sometimes I get tired. Darn it. The other day driving from one jobsite to the next (all of a 10 minute drive), I had to pull over in a parking lot and fall asleep for 10 minutes. I just had to. Apparently, I was rather tired the other night too after setting up lots of big tents for our local heritage music festival, because I found myself being pulled over by a state trooper in an unmarked car and questions extensively about whether or not I had been drinking. Read on: Trooper: Ma'am, one of the reasons I am pulling you over is that your registration is expired. Me (acting surprised): It is? Darn it! Trooper: Yes, ma'am. It expired May 15. Me: Oh shoot! I didn't realize! I'll get that taken care right away! Trooper: Also, ma'am- you were swerving all over the road. Me (genuinely surprised): I was? Trooper: Yes, ma'am. Have you been drinking? Me (honestly): No. Trooper: Why do you think you were swerving on the road? Me: I didn't know I was. I do know I am quite tired. Trooper: Did you have any alcohol to drink? Me: No. Trooper: Where are you going? Me: Home Trooper: Where have you been? What have you been doing? (series of probing questions, yada yada yada. I answer all the probing questions briefly and honestly.) Trooper: Your vehicle smells like alcohol. Have you had anything to drink today? Me (thinking to myself that my truck may smell like a hell of a lot of weird things but alcohol is not one of them): No. Trooper: Why do you think your vehicle might smell like alcohol? Me: I don't know. Maybe because I just ate a Tootsie Pop. (This was also true.) Then the trooper proceeded to give me a test where I had to follow his finger with my eyes only- no head moving. That trooper moved his finger so far over to the side of my face that it hurt my eyeballs to even try and they rebelled against my effort and shot back to center. Trooper: Ma'am, your eyes are quite twitchy. Because you were swerving and because you smell like alcohol and because your eyes are quite twitchy, I'm going to have to ask you to blow the breathalizer. (Oh god. Please don't let any old people that I like and respect drive by right now...) The Trooper brought out a weird device with a dirty looking mouth piece and told me whenever I was ready to take a big deep breath and blow out. I didn't want to put my mouth on that dirty looking thing, but I did to expedite the closure of this stupid roadside session, which ended shortly after I blew a 0.00. However, the Trooper did have one final word of advice for me, the swervy, alcohol smelling, twitchy eyed sober lady: "Ma'am, if you are that tired, maybe you should take a rest." Don't mind if I do. If only I can get home... Hey mister Trooper, whose finger went so far out to the side of my head I couldn't watch it anymore, and whose speech was actually slowed and slurred, not unlike someone who may have been drinking, and who gave me a breathalizer test followed by some hilarious advice: I raise my glass to you. Cowboy up!