c. photo Steve Evers
If you’ve been one of the Crazy followers of this blog, you’d remember that my husband and I started a non-profit foundation in the country of Poland for the homeless and poor.
BUT—what you may not remember is that my husband has been the pastor of an AWESOME International Church for the past 12 years.
Yep…my hottie is a pastor.
Anyhoo—back on topic.
Maybe you also remember that we live in a little Polish village. Our village is about one hour away from where we have church-Poznan. So, every Sunday, my husband leaves for church at approximately 7:30am. If you think that I’m getting up, getting kids ready and fed and out the door by 7:30am on Sunday, then you don’t know how much I like my sleep. Which means—we leave later than daddy.
On this Sunday, I had left in plenty of time and was cruising to church. The thing you should know about Polish roads—they used to be HORRIBLE! And then the Euro Cup 2012 came about—and the EU helped fund the fixing of the roads.
But, in the meantime, while the roads were still HORRIBLE, I knew exactly when I could speed (yes, admitting a sin…oops), and where cops sat, and when I could cruise, and when I was home free.
Well, this particular Sunday, I thought I was hitting the “Home Free” part of the road, merely minutes from church when I saw the Lollipop Man!
Let me explain. In many European countries, the police stand on the streets, while one sits in the car and radars you down. And, if you have broken the speed limit, the one on the street lollipops you in—literally by waving a little reflective lollipop at your car. And you, weirdly so, obediently pull your car over and submit your proper documents to the lollipop cop.
So, I got “lollipopped” in and approached by the lollipop cop.
He came with the radar gun to show me I was speeding. He actually didn’t need the gun because I knew I was speeding. Again, I thought I was home free (obviously doesn’t make it right, folks :))
And he said to me, “You were speeding. I need your documents.”
Obediently and submissively, I handed him my documents. And that’s when he knew!
He hit the jackpot!
No. Not just a foreigner. A FEMALE foreigner with KIDS in the back of her car.
And so he went in for the KILL!
“You must pay me 100zl or I will ARREST you!”
I looked at this cop and thought to myself, “Cop, you OBVIOUSLY don’t know whom you are threatening. I am a Middle Child…” And I prepared myself for battle.
I said, “No. I know I was speeding. Please write me my ticket. I will pay at the appropriate office.”
He was taken aback—A Challenge.
“No! You must pay me 100zl or I will ARREST YOU!” He even managed a snarl and a growl.
Me, straight-faced, “No, give me my ticket. I will PAY at the appropriate office! I legally live here and have paid tickets before. I KNOW WHAT TO DO!”
Now the cop was getting flustered. After all, he has just solicited a bribe from a lady that he thought would be a VERY easy target BUT he was getting nowhere. So, he left me in my car and went back to his partner in crime. I thought they were cops, right?!
A couple minutes later, he came back to me and said, “You will pay me 100zl. I will follow you to a Bankomat (ATM)!”
I looked at him. Really? Seriously? Have you not heard me by now?!
“No. I will not drive to a Bankomat. I will not pay you 100zl. I will accept my ticket. But that is all. If you must, ARREST ME!” Now I snarled and growled.
At this point, I was actually getting excited. I had two kids in the back of the car, and he was going to arrest me! Honestly, I was stoked! I so wanted to be arrested. I was going to snap pictures of me and the two kids arrested for speeding in Poland and not paying a bribe. IT.WAS.AWESOME!
Problem was, the cop was getting smart. Bummer.
Now HE KNEW he could not arrest me. What was he going to tell his precinct? “I arrested this woman for going 10mph over the speed limit and not paying me a bribe…???!!!” Obviously not.
So, he had to think. He walked back to his partner. They chatted again. You could tell his partner was also getting frustrated with my lack-o-bribe paying.
After about 10 minutes, he returned to me with 3 things—my driver’s license, my documents, and a Breathalyzer test.
And this is what he said, “If you pass this test, you are free to go!”
I looked at him and said, “Unless strong coffee is going to reel me in, I’m all for it!” And I took the test.
He looked at the reading: 0. I think he was disappointed. He had NOTHING on me now. He gave me the test and said, “Pamiątka” (which means Souvenir) and waved me on with his little lollipop.
Poor officer. Here he thought he hit the “Foreign Lady with 2 Kids Jackpot”—and all he got was a lot of frustration, no bribe, and a bit of humiliation.
I, although I REALLY wanted to get arrested, still walked away with a GREAT story!
So, Mr. Lollipop Cop, thanks for the TWO pamiątki (souvenirs) of that crazy Sunday morning: My Story and My Breathalyzer Test.
Next time, size up the woman you’re trying to solicit a bribe from before you waste ALL of your time…Because…this American momma don’t play that game!