Valentine's Day was the Monday before last, and I found myself feeling sort of blue. It has been some time since I had a Valentine I could call my own, and I admit to being a hopeless romantic. I can deal with having no steady girlfriend normally, but on this one day each year it can be tough.
As I drove through the state of Tennessee, I pulled out my cell phone and decided to call Karen at work. I dialed the Cafe in downtown Indianapolis, and had to explain myself to an employee who clearly screened each call very carefully. I was put on hold for ten minutes, and finally Karen picked up.
"Happy Valentine's Day, sweetie," I said.
"Who is this? Why are you bothering me?" she responded.
My heart sunk. She didn't even know it was me? "Karen, it's Bill, Bill Thomas."
She laughed. "I know it's you, Bill. Just playing around with you."
"Oh, good. I thought you forgot me or something."
"I could never forget you no matter how hard I tried."
"Please don't try."
"I won't, knucklehead. You're crazy, you know that?"
"I'm well aware," I said. "Listen, I'm feeling a bit lonely, and I was just wondering if... I mean, would it be OK to ask you to be my platonic Valentine?"
She snorted. "Platonic Valentine?"
"I know you are spoken for, I know you have a girlfriend. So I'm just asking if I can be your Valentine friend. Please?"
"Bill, Bill, what am I going to do with you. You are such a silly goose. I will be your Valentine, if you'll be mine."
"You mean real honest to goodness Valentine?"
"Yep. No platonic, no Valentine friend. You got me, this is the real thing."
"What about your girl?"
"What about her? She can get her own Valentine. Besides, we both know how much I lust for you."
I was stunned. "What? Really? You do?"
I heard unbridled laughter on the other end of the phone. "You are too much."
"Oh, I get it. Very funny, ha ha."
"OK Bill, all kidding aside, I will be honored to be your Valentine. You know that I love you, and I always will. Now can I get back to work? We're pretty busy."
"Sure, go, absolutely. Hey, thanks for making my day."
"You got it." Karen hung up, and I felt a sense of elation. I knew I wouldn't have a date that night, but hundreds of miles away I did have my Valentine. My first love. And that's about the time I noticed the flashing blue lights behind me.
As I pulled over to the shoulder, I noticed it was an unmarked green sedan. I was thinking to myself, If Only they would be in regular cop cars, I could see them and make sure I was doing the speed limit. But I decided not to share that with the officer. Especially when I looked in my side view mirror and saw him walking up, scowling.
I smiled and held my Driver's License out the window. The officer, wearing what looked like a local county Sheriff's uniform, seemed to be in a very bad mood. "Do you know why I stopped you, sir?"
"Was I speeding, officer?"
"You cut across two lanes, you didn't use your blinker, and I clocked you going over 80 mph. License, insurance and registration please."
I already had the license out and handed it to him. Then suddenly, I remembered that when I picked up this car in Virginia, it had no registration or insurance card. The previous owner just said he had lost it. My heart began beating fast, and I suddenly turned to the officer and asked, "Are you having a nice day, sir?"
His face went from stone to a momentary surprised goofy look as he tried to suppress a chuckle. "I'm having a real nice day, or at least I was."
"Happy Valentines Day to you," I said as cheerfully as possible. And then I picked up my official paperwork from Drivers of America for transporting the car. "Here's my papers, if you're interested. I'm moving this car."
"Wait a second. You drive for a living?"
"Yes sir, I do."
"So do you always drive like this?" he asked as he examined the paperwork.
"Then why were you today?"
"There was a bad accident on the freeway about 30 miles back." I could tell by the look on his face that the officer knew all about it. "It kept me sitting for over an hour and put me behind schedule. Today is Valentines Day, and I have a beautiful girl waiting for me to show up and take her out to dinner tonight. I hate to disappoint a lady, so I guess I got a bit aggressive. I meant no disrespect, and I apologize and am prepared to face the consequences."
The officer handed me back the paperwork. And then he studied my license and nodded his head. "Drive more carefully, and go treat that lady right." He handed me my license.
"Oh I will sir, you can count on that." The officer walked back to his car, and I carefully made my way back onto the freeway. There was no date and no dinner waiting for me, but Karen said she'd be my Valentine and I didn't get a ticket. All in all, a pretty good day.