Part Two Of The Adventures

My mom and her husband were going the same way I was, so we decided to loosely follow each other and get pizza together a couple hundred miles down the road. I left her house first and hurried to get ahead of them so I didn’t fall too far behind when I stopped to get gas. Except that I went the wrong way, and when you go the wrong way, the road runs into a military base. I saw it and turned around a quarter mile or so away.

My mom called: “We’re out on the highway and we don’t see you.”

“I went the wrong way. Now I’m behind you.”


I go the wrong way a lot, and I still mix up right and left.

Then She called and I got lost in conversation, speeding a little to catch up with my mom and her husband. Speeding in this area’s a pretty safe bet, because there’s just one state trooper who patrols a long stretch of highway. Just as I was hoping out loud that I wouldn’t run into him, he passed me and pulled a U turn behind me. Shit.

He pulled me over and there was an unmarked car behind him. What the heck was a second cop car doing all the way out there? I got out my license, registration, etc., and waited. I waited a long time. Finally the cop came up and I gave him my stuff and apologized for speeding. “I was trying to catch up to my mom,” I explained.

“Really,” he said, and it wasn’t a question. He leaned into my open window a little with his gun half drawn, looked back into the van. “How many people do you have in the vehicle, ma’am?”

“Just me and the dog.”

“I see. Ma’am, I’m just trying to understand… are you under the influence of any drugs?”

“No.” I looked behind me in the van. I didn’t see any other people, did he?

“Any narcotics?”


“Prescription medications?”


“Ma’am, do you have any mental disorders?”


“Any bipolar, schizophrenia, anything like that?”


“Are you under a doctors care for any condition at all?”

“No.” I would normally do like my little sister taught me and explain to the guy about my fourth and fourteenth amendment rights and tell him to write me a citation or arrest me if I’d committed a violation, but he was still crouching and glancing around with his gun half drawn and I thought any assertation of my rights might cause him to pull me from the car and taser me or something.

“Well, why did you drive towards the base and then turn around.”

Oooooh, that explained it. Kind of. “I turned the wrong way. When I realised I was going the wrong way, I turned around.”

“Why did you go the wrong way?”

“Well I didn’t do it on purpose.”

“You don’t just go the wrong way by accident. How would that happen?”

“Um, I go the wrong way all the time. I get lost everywhere I go. Really.”

“Ma’am… I’m just trying to understand… do you have any mental disorders?”

After a while he told me to sit tight, but he would probably be taking me to the base for the military to interrogate me. What the hell? Alaska’s own detention camp for the dyslexic?

He went back to the second cop car and consulted with a bunch of military guys. Oh shit. I called my mom. “Um, mom, you really need to turn around, they think I’m some kind of terrorist with psychiatric disorders on narcotics and they don’t believe me.”

The cop came back.

“Do you live at this address here on your ID?”

“Sort of. I get my mail there. I mean, it would be hard to live in a PO Box, right?”

“Ma’am, do you live in this vehicle.”

“No.” Hey, I don’t.

“Where exactly do you live, ma’am.”

“Up the river a little from The Village.”

“Uh huh. So you’re saying you live in a boat, ma’am?”

“No, I live in a cabin.”

“Oh, so you need a boat to get there.”


“And what are you doing here?”

“I’m trying to follow my mother south.”

“And where is she, your mother?”

“Um, I just called her she’s coming back.”

“Right. Now look at these two names, ma’am. Which one is yours?” He held up my registration and my license, which are indeed in my old name and my new name.

“Well, the old name used to be my name and I changed it to the new name.”

“You just… changed your name?”



“Because I wanted to.”

“You just wanted to, so you did?”


“Ma’am… I’m just trying to understand… are you on drugs?”


He told me to sit tight again and repeated the part about taking me to the military, and then he yelled back to the military guys that my mother was coming and not to shoot her.

When my mom pulled up on the other side of the road he crossed it to talk to her. I could hear them between cars.

“Hi,” she said, “My name is Tara’s Mom, and I live at 123 Xyz St in Crazyville Alaska. I’m the such-and-such there? And my daughter, Tara-”

“Ma’am,” he said, “is this your biological daughter?”


“I’m just trying to understand, ma’am, you’re saying that you physically gave birth to that woman over there?”


Well thank Goddess I wasn’t adopted or c-sectioned or something. It would be funny if I weren’t so scared of being hauled off to some podunk Alaskan Guantanamo Bay.

Possum, of course, is my magical fairy godmother, so I sent him a quick text message. And, just thirty seconds later, the cop announced that he was handing me over to my mother.

She came over to my window and whispered. “He asked where you lived, and I didn’t know what to tell him, so I said you used to live with me but you just bought land out on the river.”

“Did he ask you if that meant I lived in a boat?”

“No, but he asked for the name of the river, and when I told him he was like, That’s what she told me too!!!

In the rearview mirror the cop and military guys were standing around staring at us. “Mom, I think you’re supposed to be yelling at me.”

A couple hundred miles later we had really good pizza. So good and glutenfull that I got sick.

Then I picked up some hitchikers from the Czech Republic, and they told me about the revolution they had there. It was mostly peaceful, they said. One day everyone started dancing in the streets and refusing to work for the communists, and then all the communists became democrats.

They were looking for a campground, so I dropped them off at one I know and shone the headlights while they set up their tent in the rainy darkness.

Then I had to drive through Wasilla. Wasilla has got to be the most secure place in the country right now. The streets were practically lined with undercover cars. They must have shipped a fleet of them up here. What the hell, Sarah Palin? I wanted to take pictures for all you politically minded readers, but it was dark and I didn’t want them to think I was a terrorist again.

Categorized as stories


  1. “You don’t just go the wrong way by accident. How would that happen?”

    … what?
    So he turns the wrong way on purpose, good to know.

  2. That is just about the damnably funniest feckin’ blog-post I have ever read and I mean EVER, Tara! Nora Ephron, if she stripped and could live in a van without room service, MIGHT be as funny as you someday, sister. Sonofabiscuit, that is hilarious . . . I am still chuckling at this, honestly. You are something else… ~ Irish

  3. I found this funny, and really scarey. Do you know how bizarre that story is reading it from outside the US?

  4. “You don’t just go the wrong way by accident. How would that happen?”

    Cop logic strikes again! Impeccable reasoning there, officer…

    Glad you got out of it okay.

  5. Hey Tara, cool stories !

    Funny thing is now, is you have rights, unless they decide to call you a terrorist. Then all the rights are gone, even the lawyer. Great times thanks to GW!

  6. Frighteningly crazy story Tara!

    “You don’t go the wrong way by accident”??? While reading, I couldn’t help but think “man, those American cops sure are something else” and not in a good way.
    I’ve been dissatisfied with Swiss police before, but that was because they hadn’t gauged my situation properly and didn’t come ’round to see me personally although I thought they should have. But guess why they didn’t come? They were too polite and didn’t want to disturb me further, as it was in the middle of the night.
    When I went to the police station to ask about it all, they were apologetic. Truly sorry they had made a misjudgement and promised it wouldn’t happen again.
    I am stricken by how nasty this cop was to you. It’s not right that citizens of a country should fear the cops as much as they fear actual criminals. And from your writings, it is very clear that you are highly uncomfortable around cops and have reason to be.

    I’m glad I live in Europe. I have only had good experiences with cops so far, anywhere I’ve lived. Heck, I’ve spent time in Egypt and the cops there were less scary than yours! There is something really, really wrong with the American police system.

    I wish you no more of those nasty run-ins and lots of water to float your boat 🙂

  7. ps: if anything, the one who really sounded like he was on drugs and mentally unstable (and/or disabled? 😉 :D) was the cop.

  8. My first reaction is, “What are they doing at that base??” That’s odd how sensitive they were about the whole thing…

    Did this happen on/near 9/11? Everyone in “Amerikkka” is still skittish around this time.

  9. Far fucking out!!

    Reminds me of the late 60s and early 70s when the FBI was investigating “the left-wing radical underground” of Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham! I moved back home from several years in the Baltimore and Washington area and was soon visited by two two stern guys in Robert Hall cheap dark suits, wanting to get me to introduce them to the subversive radicals fo the antiwar underground. I told them to remember we were talking about Birmingham – the home of Angela Davis. Birmingham – the place where almost nobody turned out to support Angela and raise funds for her legal defense.

    I am sure you were somewhat freaked by this incident, but as you age and gather your life’s stories around you like a familiar and comfortable blanket, you will laugh your ass off remembering the questions about why you went the wrong way.

    Keep on truckin’ and surely keep on writin’!!

  10. Not that I’m saying it isn’t worth it (pizza is always worth it), but a couple hundred miles seems like a ways to go for a tasty pie.

    Sorry he was a such a tool. Good think you have a magic making god-parent.

  11. That is to funny! Ma’am Let me understand this So you are saying… I would of said uhh Let me explain this so even you can understand. I hate Alaskan cops hassling some one because they have nothing else better to do. Either arrest me or let me go. If you cant understand that i am not drugs maybe you should be taking some then..

  12. You dont need to haul me to the military base this interrogation is sufficient enough. sir.

  13. I was going to ask “how do you get yourself into situations like these?” but then I realized, you’re a hobostripper who lives in a van (AND down by the river) It’s easier to have weird things happen to you that way.
    PS: good wishes to Bro!

  14. Yay for Czechs! Actually, the revolution was heralded by the ringing of keys. They weren’t dancing in the streets so much as they crammed thousands of students and workers into the main city square, lifted their signs…and dug out their key chains. Can you imagine the sound of thousands of keys, ringing in a new reign?

    Of course, the CR is still pretty fucked up. If you ever visit for more than a week, find yourself at least four grocery stores. I guarantee three of them will be out of what you need.

    That said, the Estonians had an even more awesome revolution – theirs was a folk music festival!!

  15. Hey there,

    I usually lurk but I thought I’d make an appearance because I’d like to be consoled– although I’m sure that it won’t happen. I find stories like this–incompetent authorities and abuse very scary. One of my biggest fears at the moment is that the police will get some false tip off from a drug dealer that leads them straight to our apartment with a warrant and we’ll be killed for trying to defend ourselves from would be “robbers”. I think I read too many articles… Anywho–the police scare the effin crap out of me. I’d like to be consoled and told that my fears are silly considering I’m a non threatening white freckled ginger but I can’t help it some times.

  16. Hmm. I guess I should have said false tip off…not to give you any strange ideas about the contents of our humble abode. At the risk of sounding overly paranoid I hear in many cases of slip ups they plant evidence… 😯 I’d also like to note that the wondrous Sarah Palin inspired me to vote this year. I mean–I didn’t have any particularly strong opinions of either candidate—but I loathe her to such a sharp degree that I must do my “patriotic duty” or some crap like that. Obama 08. Whee.

  17. Sometimes I really really hate cops. They’re there to protect us, but sometimes they just go overboard with their profiling. How many times did I get pulled over as a young driver, while doing NOTHING wrong? Too many to count. As an adult? Never.

  18. “Ma’am,” he said, “is this your biological daughter?”


    “I’m just trying to understand, ma’am, you’re saying that you physically gave birth to that woman over there?”


    It’s right at this point, I would have gotten you in trouble with a comment like, “Of course, that was years ago, and she was much smaller then.”

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