Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

An Embarrassing Allergic Pullover

One hot July afteroon in 1989, I was traveling up to college at Rutgers University and was pulled over by a New Jersey State Trooper. It wasn’t due to excessive speeding. It didn’t involve a harrowing police chase after a daring bank robbery. And, there was no slow motion OJ Simpson police chase. My first “pullover” by a police officer was the result of an ill-timed allergy attack.

I was driving up to my fraternity house in New Brunswick, NJ. Cruising along in my little red Nissan Sentra, I decided to take Route 295 instead of the the New Jersey Turnpike, most likely because of crazy traffic reported on KYW1060 News Radio. I wanted to get up there as soon as possible because all of the fraternity brothers were headed up for a summer party in the new house on Prosper St that had been just been rented.

I was heading up in the afternoon for a fun evening of beer, beer, and more beer. So here I was traveling up 295 North when I felt one of my summer allergy attacks coming on. I started sneezing. Usually I am a three sneezer but this was something different. I sneezed, and sneezed, and just kept sneezing! Much to my surprise, I heard PHWUMP PHWUMP PHWUMP as I veered into a construction zone. In my rear view mirror three orange cones were doing somersaults off the side of the road like a children’s gymnastics team. And I kept sneezing! By this time, my eyes were watery and I couldn’t see through the sneezing and tears. Thankfully, the construction flag man was quick to jump out of the way. The last I saw of the flagger was him waving and gesturing madly in my rear view mirror. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that he was just almost hit. By his crazy ,I could clearly see he was alive and fully ambulatory.

Less than five minutes later, while cruising in the fast lane and still sneezing from those damn allergies, I noticed a police cruiser coming quickly up behind me. I pulled over into the slow lane to let him pass and realized he pulled up behind me! Oh shit! The cop wanted me to pull over! Damn the flagger and his quick radio to police authority! I quickly pulled over and my sneezing became profuse sweating and not from the July heat!

As my parents had taught me, I pulled out my license, registration, and insurance card, ready to hand over them over when asked. The NJ State Trooper swaggered up to the side of my car. I looked up an him and immediately thought that his hat would be much more comfortable if that hat chin strap went under his chin rather than across it. I refrained from stating this to the officer.

The officer asked if I knew why I was pulled over, I explained to him that I was in the middle of having a very bad allergy attack and quite possibly could have unknowingly meandered over into maybe a sort of construction-looking area. I figured it was better to be vague. He looked at me, got closer to my face and screamed, “Meandered!?!? You took out several traffic cones and almost hit a construction flagger!” He apparently didn’t appreciate my explanation. He stomped back to his police cruiser to check my information. After running my information, he came back to the side of my car.

“Your information checks out, Mr. Haynes. Have you been drinking or are on any medication which would cause you drive erratically?”

“NO! I haven’t had anything! I am having an allergy attack, that‘s all!!” I exclaimed. And with that, I began sneezing again.  Out of the corner of my watery eye, I noticed him rolling his.

Nevertheless, New Jersey’s finest had me step out of the vehicle and go through a battery of tests checking my coordination and ability to touch my toes … all the while continuing to sneeze. No, I wasn't drunk, just a complete allergic mess. I usually can't walk in a straight line anyway much less be tested doing so, but luckily I passed with flying colors ... even with the uncontrollable sneezing.

He stated I could return to my vehicle and remain there until he came back. After 5 minutes, the State Trooper, returned with a warning in hand. “YOU, sir, need to find an allergy medicine that works,” he stated flatly, handing me the warning. "Because when you sneeze, you are a danger and menace to people on the road!!"

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