Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 225

A Cup of Sugar

When I moved in to this neighbourhood I asked for only one thing. That was for my neighbours to bring me round a basket of muffins or a cup of sugar. This did not happen, and my American dream nearly shattered……

However, after a year, my neighbours spoke to me today.

‘Well, hello, are you our new neighbours?’

“Sort of. We’ve been here a year now.’ (I’m smiling, despite it all.)

‘A year! How time flies. Nice to meet you.’

‘Nice to meet you.’ (Genuinely, it was.)

‘Listen, if you need a cup of sugar or anything, just come on over and knock….we’ll be in…’

‘Oh thank you, I will!’ (V bright and sparky now.)

I'll have one of those, please :)

I’ll have one of those, please πŸ™‚

And there we have it, the invite I’ve been waiting for! My American dream is not shattered after all and it comes in the form of a cup of sugar, albeit a year late. It’s so American to say ‘cup of sugar’. In the UK we might just say ‘give us a knock if you need some milk or your drain is blocked or whatever.’

Tomorrow I might just make a cake, and I might just need a cup of sugar….they had better be in….. πŸ˜‰

What to do if a cop pulls you over

Apparently, according to several expats, the thought of being pulled over by the police on the highway is terrifying.

I think I might find it interesting and would probably blog about it, secure a ride-along with the police officer and invite myself over for a cook out next Sunday, but that aside…yes, what do you do? Hands on the wheel where he/she can see them….? All I know is what I’ve seen on TV and in movies, naturally.

'Afterbubble, Cunstanoon....'

‘Afterbubble, Cunstanoon….’

Of course, the interweb holds all the answers….

1. Look for a convenient spot to pull over. Simply slowing down and activating your turn signal will usually be enough to indicate to the officer that you intend to pull over within reasonable distance. Try to find a close parking lot or wide shoulder of the road. Many officers will appreciate the consideration.

2. Relax. Take a deep breath and calm down to help things go smoothly.

3. Roll down your driver’s side window, along with any windows which are tinted. If it is dark, turn on interior lights. Make all your movements slowly–the officer is watching you carefully to make sure you’re not drawing a weapon or hiding something. Do not reach for anything in the passenger compartment of your vehicle or under your seat.

NB: If you have electric windows, remember to roll down your window before shutting off your engine! If you forget to do this, and have to start the car again, the officer could take it as sign that you are going to run.

4. Place the car in “park” and turn off the ignition. Put your keys on the dashboard. Doing so gives the officer more confidence that you will not suddenly flee. Sit still; any suspicious movement from you (even a sudden lowering of one or both shoulders) can prompt a search.

5. Keep your hands in plain sight, preferably on the top of the steering wheel, with your fingers visible.

Keep those hands where I can see then, ma'am!

Keep those hands where I can see then, ma’am!

[Yep, I know this from the movies πŸ˜‰ ]

6. When the officer comes to your window, don’t speak first. He or she will usually ask for your license and registration, and is not obliged to tell you why they pulled you over before you comply. Reach towards your wallet or glove compartment, but do it slowly and deliberately. If you’re in a dark area, the officer will follow your hands with his flashlight. Finish this process before anything else, then put your hands back on the wheel. While the officer checks your license and vehicle status via radio, keep your hands on the steering wheel.

7. Keep your answers non-committal and brief. Open-ended questions can get you into trouble, especially if the officer is trying to extract admissions out of you that can be used against you in court.

– If you’re asked “Do you know why I stopped you?” say “No.”
– If you’re asked “Do you know how fast you were going?” say “Yes.” Answering “No” to this question will lead the officer to believe that you are ignorant of the speed limit or how fast you are going.
– If the officer asks, “Do you have a good reason that would make you need to hurry?” say, “No.” If you say “yes,” then even if you were not speeding the officer will believe that you were, and you’ll probably get a ticket.
– If the officer tells you how fast you were going, say “I see” or don’t say anything at all. Silence is not an admission of guilt.
– If he/she asks “Have you been drinking?” (But, he/she does NOT smell alcohol.) Say no in case you were stopped, driving in an erratic manner. Tell him if you take medications or have an illness that can cause driving problems. If the officer spots “open containers” of beer, other alcohol, or smells alcohol, you should expect testing and/or demonstrating your coordination and balance.



8. Comply with any orders by the officer. Refusing to comply with an officer’s orders will identify you as either resistant or rebellious. This gives the officer the belief that they have the opportunity to use force to make you obey the orders. Save yourself the trouble and comply with all orders given to you.

If the officer sees any illegal objects in plain view, he or she can open the door, reach in, and get it.

In the USA, moving vehicles are subject by law enforcement to search with probable cause after a traffic stop. Probable cause may include observing occupants in suspicious activities, remarks and things that the officer can smell, see or hear like safety violations, open containers, potential weapons, etc.

Do not engage the officer in any unnecessary conversation! They know why they pulled you over, and anything you say may be used against you. You have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Don’t talk unless responding to a question from the officer. This goes for your passengers as well. Also do not name drop if you know an officer he/she works with or not. Chances are that the officer who stopped you assumes you know the other officer because of a prior violation and/or arrest.

Do not exit the vehicle unless requested to do so. This is almost always perceived as a threat and it is safer for you inside the car than outside, near traffic. Whenever asked to exit the vehicle, make sure the doors lock behind you.

9. Be polite, and do not argue if you are given a ticket. There’s plenty of time later in traffic court if you choose to contest it. Instead, thank the officer; they’ll reciprocate with more politeness and possibly let you off a bit, for example although you may still have to pay they’ll probably give you your license back rather than keeping it.

I love this, particularly the deep breaths bit. Deep breaths, and don’t cack your pants, basically.

Rocket launch!

I got an email today from NASA! Wow, did they want me to blog about hanging out in a space shuttle in space or something like that?

No, they did not. But they did want to tell me that there may be something interesting in the sky along the mid Atlantic coast tonight.

‘A U.S. Air Force Minotaur V orbital rocket will be launched from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The launch of the 90-foot tall rocket may be visible through-out the Eastern United States. Depending on the weather conditions in one’s area, this launch is expected to highly visible from the Carolinas to northern Maine and west to West Va. and Pittsburgh.
Launch Date/Time: September 6, 11:27 p.m. EDT
Backup launch days: September 7 – 10
The launch will be shown live on NASA TV or at
beginning at 9:30 p.m. on launch day. Updates also will be available on the NASA Wallops Facebook and Twitter sites, and the Wallops launch status line at 757-824-2050.’

It's one of these babies!

It’s one of these babies!

Cool! I don’t think I’ll be awake, but still, how awesome! And Wallops – love that word. I will be using that a lot πŸ™‚

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4 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 225

  1. Andy says:

    Wish I still lived in Virginia as I’ve always wanted to see a rocket launch 😦

    Great advice on getting stopped by 5-0 as well, I always guilt out when I see the blue lights in my mirror, but luckily they always seem to be chasing someone else. One thing, never say “Please ignore the body in the trunk” as a friend did. Apparently the cops don’t have much of a sense of humour! πŸ™‚

  2. shar0713 says:

    My BFF’s (lol!) hubby is working on that launch! Her husband and mine worked together in Space and Missiles back when. BTW, interesting info on getting pulled over. I’ve never thought to take the keys out of the ignition or even turn the car off. I’ve been pulled over 3 times, but never gotten a ticket. 1) Was super sick and offered to take the ticket if only I could just run to the bathroom first. 2) Was bawling before I was pulled over after dropping my husband off at the airport (we lived 1000 miles apart, and 3) I asked the officer if she knew my brother, the firefighter (she did). Not sure what I’d do living out here and not being as cute as I once was!

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