After being home for barely enough time to do the laundry, I turned back around, packed up the Focus, this time with fellow Muse and piano pop power diva Karen Jacobsen in town, for a few dates in my favorite state south of the Mason Dixon: North Carolina. Only the Gods weren't on my side this time. On Tuesday night at around 2am, pulling off in Frederick, MD to visit my folks for the night and to rest my weary head before the long haul to Carrboro the following day, I was stopped by about 3 cop cars (one unmarked) who claimed I was "wavering". Which is highly unlikely. I was exiting, but who am I to argue with a "statey" at 2am, so I just handed over my license after saying "No, Officer, I have no idea why you've pulled me over." After a minute, he returned (did I mention there were 3 cars with flashing lights there...why they needed all that muscle with 2 pretty lame and tired blonde girls, I'll never know), to ask "Have you been drinking, ma'am"? (no) "Do you have any drugs in the car?" (hell no) and the best one yet..."Any guns in there?" (HA HA HA). Then he made some strange comment about me driving Karen to "college" and the both of us actually laughed out loud (I said, "very flattering, but no"). He asked me to step outside the car, which I did, informed me that my license was suspended, to which I replied, completely aghast, "NO it is NOT". Then he politely asked me to turn around and cross my hands behind my back. He brought the cuffs (yes...this is a true story boys and girls) out and, as Karen has described, I was the picture of indignance. I think my response was: "Is this absolutely necessary?". Hmmm...not quite the response Mr. State Trooper ("Please don't stop me....") was looking for and I found myself cuffed in the cop car. By the way, handcuffs hurt. In case you didn't know. And for that matter, telling your arresting officer that you make a living with your hands ("I'm a guitar player...really, you don't need to cuff me. This hurts") and the handcuffs are unecessary isn't really the best use of your words while being taken off to the station. Long story short: I had a $15 parking ticket in 2000 that I never knew about (sure it fell off the car...but I'm suspect that Hoboken simply made this up, because I've never even gotten the request for payment notices I usually get before paying the fine). And so in March, with NO NOTICE from the New Jersey DMV, they suspended my license. Well. All I can say is thank God(des) this did not happen while I was on the West Coast with jenny bruce!!! I spent a few hours in the detention center with my arresting officer, his fellow policemen and the stoned prostitute they found out cold on I-15 who claimed Navahoe Aliens had abducted her from Oklahoma and left her in Frederick. Which didn't quite explain her parole violations. I kept my sassiness in check and the cops took pity on me or just realized I was no criminal and told me that if someone came to get me, they'd let me off until the following day when I had to appear before the magistrate (who uses the word "Magistrate" anymore? it's a cool word). So. They sent a cop to my parents' house at 3:30am. But I had given the wrong address (it's a fairly new house for them) and the cop looking for Dad radioed back to my AO ("arresting officer") "Can you check on that address?". AO says, "Describe the house". I said, "it's a log house". Cop looking for Dad says "there's a lot of log houses out this way". I say, "Oh, yeah. There's a carved wooden bear out on the front steps." A pause. Then over my AO's radio comes this:
"We have bear in site. Over."
Definitely the height of the kafka-esque episode.
Karen and I eventually made it to North Carolina and were able to do our shows, saw old friends, made new ones. The photo above was taken by Jennifer Layton at the Six String Show in Cary, NC. That's Atlanta's Kitty Snyder, NYC's Kyler, me and LA's Adrienne. Pretty cool show.
I've straightened out the fines, paid off NJ. Now I have to find a lawyer and go to court in MD. All for an unpaid $15 ticket. Please. Pay your parking fines. However, it's not so bad, being the Johnny Cash of folk music....