Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Pathetic Life of a Poet, Part 4

I noticed on Dan Nester's blog that he was was giving a reading in D.C. today and I thought it would be fun to attend. Tender Buttons was up for it too and agreed to meet me at the Dupont Circle metro. What should have been a pleasant afternoon and an escape from a second day of painting the living room wasn't quite what I had hoped.

I left my house a little late and was concerned I'd arrive 5 to 10 minutes into the reading, so I decided to put the pedal to the metal as they say. For someone with an expired registration this wasn't very keen. I got pulled over by an unmarked police car not even 10 minute from house. When the officer came to my window I said, "My registration is expired" to which he replied, "Yep and you were going 55 in a 35."

He asked why my registration was expired and I told him it was because I needed a new muffler to pass emissions. He asked why I was speeding and I answered, "Because I'm late for a poetry reading." With a straight face and no hint of inflection, very matter of factly he repeated "You're late for a poetry reading" and went back to his car.

I knew I was fucked and reminded myself that it's no big deal, poetry readings never start on time and it's would be OK to sashay in a few minutes into it. But this police officer was taking a long time in his car and then a squad car arrived. The two officers were talking and looking at me which I thought was curious because I didn't have any warrants our for my arrest and aside from my speeding and expired registration, I was guilty of no other criminal activity.

When the officer came back to my car he explained that while my car was registered to a Rebecca Livingston at my address, she had a totally different social security number and birth date. He asked for my social security card. Now I started to panic, I'm no lawyer, but I'm pretty sure under the Patriot Act law enforcement officials are allowed to probe the arses of any suspicious types or persons of interest. In addition to being an irresponsible speeder, I now might also be a terrorist. The thought would not have crossed my mind except that two years ago a poet friend of mine was on his way to read to children at a library, got pulled over for an expired registration, didn't have any identification (he lost his wallet the week before) and spent the day in the pokey. All I could think about was how I wasn't cut out for jail, not even for a couple hours. Was it time to start practicing my scowl?

Turns out the officer was a kind man, had no intention up sticking stuff up my ass and only ticketed me for the expired tag. A much cheaper ticket and no points on my license. Perhaps it was my beat-up, filthy, 10 year old car that sounded like a lawn mower that made the whole "late for a poetry reading" believable.

So I was 25 minutes late and totally missed Dan's reading. Sorry buddy, I was looking forward to it. Maybe I'll make it up to NYC in the near future and catch you there or maybe in July when you reading in Pittsburgh. If only my old man had DSL at his house, I'd visit up there all the time. (p.s. Dad, thanks for the tomatoes.)

Afterwards I went out for an early supper with TB, gave her a belated birthday gift and enjoyed a sub-par meal and slow service at The Front Page. I stayed out for a long time hoping that by the time I got home, Chris would be all finished with the painting. When I called him from the metro at 8 p.m. he informed me he hadn't even started. His back was still sore from yesterday and he was unclear about what color to use on the trim (lame excuse). So I didn't get out of painting today either.

But we're finished in the living room and will do the dining room and foyer next weekend (we settled on Adobe Straw and Eggshell Cream). Tomorrow we're going to look at new floors.


At 8:35 AM, Blogger Phatback said...

To paraphrase Sean Connery, who would claim to be speeding to a poetry reading, who was not?

So you decided to paint the place in white/white?

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Reb said...

Dude, Adobe Straw isn't white -- it's looks like the make-up foundation I wore in middle school. It's a beige with a hint of pink.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Phatback said...

All I'm saying is, soon you'll look like you have Interior Design by Al.

At 9:43 PM, Blogger Reb said...

No way dood. We just picked out a bamboo floor and bamboo blinds, and auberine sofa (with red throw pillows to match the red chair we already have) and chair. All of our wood is dark. This is most assuredly not an Al-inspired design!

At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could comment that she likes dark wood, and you'd not be far off the mark. Additionally I'd like to say that her color palate is quite nice, her eye for colors and matching them to the situation is additionally quite well endowed.


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