Anyone who knows me knows I have a thing for superstition. Today’s superstitious thoughts come courtesy of my city’s police department.
I was driving home from the library minding my own business. Gwen was reading the picture books out loud to herself. I was listening to Education by Modest Mouse thinking I really need to look up the lyrics because I have no idea what they’re saying! An intersection ahead of me I saw a motocop (I just made that word up and Live Writer doesn’t like it) coming down the road in my direction. Suddenly he did a u-turn in the middle of the street. I imagined he was responding to a call and I went back to Education’s indecipherable lyrics.
Rounding the corner I instinctively looked up at the digital sign registering my speed for God and everyone to see. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the cop on his motorcycle on the opposite side of the street. He looked up too. My foot came off the accelerator which I don’t know why since the sign flashed a huge 28 in the 25 mile per hour zone. I wouldn’t have thought anything of it but it seemed a little strange that after I crossed through the last stop sign before the speed limit increases, a police car was behind me.
No worries. It’s just a policeman. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. When the single lane road opened to accommodate a second lane I moved to the right wondering if I was supposed to signal my intent to do so. In my rearview mirror I saw an SUV make the same move without signaling. The cop stayed in the left lane.
The light changed green so I proceeded through the intersection cautiously while checking for the opportunity to move into the new third lane. A mini van was waiting to turn right into the third lane even though the lane opens up for those right turn people coming from the perpendicular intersection. I signaled and moved over. The cop, who was in the left lane, signaled and moved to the center lane. I turned right at the next light onto the 5 minute road to my neighborhood. When I naturally checked my rearview mirror there was the cop turning onto the same road. Um . . . ?
I don’t speed despite my lead foot genes. But all I could think of was that somehow this cop wanted to catch me speeding in the 25 mph zone. That was the last place I saw another cop – the 25 mph zone near the library. Another glance in my mirror showed the car turning left into the parking lot the police tend to just sit in. I drove home thinking it was a strange drive home but not really worth writing home about.
About 45 minutes later I left again to pick up kids from school. Who follows me for part of my route? Another police car. For real. Psycho superstition could no longer be suppressed so I exclaim out loud, as if Gwen has any clue what I mean, “Why are there so many cops out today? What’s going on?”
I got thinking. Why would the police be after me? I’m clearly a mom in a minivan. Even without actually seeing the driver, the assumption when one sees a minivan in the middle of the day is mom. Rusted, pedophile looking vans wheezing down the street in the middle of the day and one does not think soccer mom. White vans curiously unmarked by any business logos also do not conjure up visions of homemaking moms driving around running errands.
So here I am, a mom driving a preschooler around town in a nice minivan, picking up the rest of my children, hunkering down for an afternoon of snacks and homework. Meanwhile the third police officer in an hour is staring me down. Mom profiling. That’s the only explanation.
What I don’t know is why. Why would anyone profile a mom? Maybe it’s Velma. The cop saw that I drive a VW Routan and he snapped his fingers immediately making the connection that I’m the Piquant Storyteller and I wrote something hypothetical about Velma on the Autobahn. Maybe. Maybe not. Like most superstition, it was probably just an odd coincidence.