Lack of Story?

My heart sank as I spotted the flashing light behind me. This isn’t how I had imagined starting my getaway weekend to a small, lake town.

I pulled over, reached into my backpack and located my wallet and license. Then, I fumbled through my glove compartment, pulled out a stack of papers, and flipped through them. The officer approached my window, informed me that I had been going 40 in a 25 mph zone and asked for my license and insurance card. I explained that I was trying to find my current insurance card. I pulled out the last sheet of paper in the stack hoping it was the one. Nope – it was an expired card! I noticed one more document in my glove compartment and reached for it. The officer’s vision was better than mine. He helpfully read the date and said, “that’s it.” I handed it to him along with my license, and he walked back to his car.

A few minutes later, the officer returned to my car and explained that everything looked fine. He said, “I just need you to drive a little slower.” I nodded and thanked him. I slowly drove off with a sigh of relief that I hadn’t received a ticket. Not a story, right?

Or is it? I can’t help but wonder how things might have turned out if I hadn’t been a 58-year-old white woman. Would the officer have allowed me to reach into my backpack? To fumble through my glove compartment? Would he have assisted me in reading the date on my insurance card? Would he have refrained from giving me a ticket?

I’m remembering Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman. In 2015, she was pulled over for a minor traffic violation. She was dragged from her car, handcuffed, and jailed. Three days later, she was found hanging in her cell.

As I reflect on my own lack of story and Sandra Bland’s horrifying story, I find myself at a loss for words.

And I recognize that my silence is part of my white privilege.

What is your story or lack of story?

Copyright (c) 2022, Bridget Purdome, All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Lack of Story?”

  1. The story is a good one, Bridget, because we usually only hear the ones that end in heartbreak. It’s also important because you’re voicing your self-awareness, and telling it should make us all stop and think. Some might’ve even considered it a nuisance to be stopped, and lucky not to have a ticket, but the truth is, we all have to see that situation objectively. Thanks for your “non-story”.

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