I noticed something last week that I found interesting. By interesting, I mean really fucking annoying. Maybe you all can help me understand.
Many of us have been pulled over. Many of us have been passengers in a car that has been pulled over. These are two completely different experiences. In the first, you’re the responsible party. In the second, you’re just a bystander. You’re not on the radar (so long as you aren’t doing anything overtly stupid and/or dangerous). So here’s my question. Why the hell don’t you just keep your mouth shut?
On two separate stops last week, passengers in both cars decided to flap their gums at me. Why? Seriously. That’s not rhetorical. I don’t get it. Do you think you’re going to help the driver out by being an annoying pain in the ass? Not likely. So, why bother?
You might be thinking to yourself, “C’mon, MC, lighten up! You can’t expect the passenger to sit idly by every time!” And you’re right. Let me elaborate…
I’m not talking about the polite conversationalist or the guy that gives his buddy a hard time for getting pulled over. I’m talking about the attitude. The “I can’t believe you’re going to give him a ticket for that” guy (or in the second case, girl). In the first stop, I stopped a driver for a cell phone violation. *Cue dream sequence*
MC: Do you know why I stopped you?
MC: You were on the cell phone.
Driver: I was calling my son’s doctor. He just had an impacted tooth removed and we picked up the medication at Walgreen’s and I wanted to ask the doctor how much to give him.
**Um….I’ve never seen a prescription bottle that didn’t have those details written on it, but that’s beside the point.**
MC: Is there a reason you couldn’t have called while in Walgreen’s or perhaps stopped the vehicle to make the call?
Driver (vacant stare): …
MC: I’ll be right back.
*I wrote the cite and returned**
MC: Okay, sir, I just need you to sign on the yellow highlighted portion at the bottom.
Driver: Thanks for your consideration about the medication.
**Now, I know he was being a sarcastic prick (takes one to know one)**
MC (what I should have said): But sir, I’m not giving you consideration. I’m giving you a ticket.
MC (what I actually said): Okay, sir.
**Here is where I have to truly bite my tongue**
JSL (Johnny Snot Locker aka passenger): I hope you like your job.
Now what the fuck is he piping up for? He’s not the one getting a ticket. I would have loved to have said, “Listen, you disrespectful little jerk, why don’t you worry more about whatever prescription scam you’re running on daddy here so you can inevitably sell your meds to your dipshit friends and less about the fact that pops is getting a ticket, huh?” But, of course, I didn’t.
The second situation was similar, only this time the violation was a seatbelt. I pulled the car over and had my usual interaction with the driver. The driver was very polite and gave me no static whatsoever. Not so much with the passenger, though.
To be honest, I think the passenger was a girl, but I can’t be 100% sure. (S)he was wearing a hat cocked sideways, a white tank top (can I say wife beater without offending?) and reflective aviator sunglasses from every 80’s movie involving the CHP and/or jets.
I handed the driver the ticket for her to sign and Pat the Passenger pops off with full on attitude, “What, she can’t get a warning for this?” To which I reacted by simply leaning in briefly and saying, “No. She can’t.”
I walked back to the motor shaking my head. So, here is my question to you. Two questions, actually. First off, what good can come from a passenger running their mouth? Second, is there a polite/professional way to tell someone, “Hey, how’s about a nice big cup of shut the hell up?”
I’m at a loss for both.