Get Out of Jail, Free!

Recently in a conversation with someone, he described someone else as getting “a lot of get-out-jail-free cards…” and getting away with stuff. My immediate paranoid, self-absorbed reaction thought was “he really means me! He’s talking about ME!” Tell me you do that too. Make it about you, I mean. TELL ME.

OK, back to me. Sometimes I can hardly believe the crap I get away with. I mean I’m a law-abiding citizen and everything, let’s not get crazy. And I don’t set out to not get consequences, but sometimes, I just don’t have to face them. Don’t hate me, I’ve had a lot of crummy luck in my life, but I prefer to focus on the positive. Examples follow.

When I was in grade 8, I had a prince of a teacher. What a sweet, wonderful man he was. Parents and students alike adored him. My heathen self even went to watch him sing in a Christmas choir at his church one time, just because he had such a fabulous voice, and was a bit of a local celebrity. I really loved him.

I also sort of made his life rotten. Talking in class, scrambling to do homework at the last second as he was collecting it, passing notes, getting separated from my chatty classmate, I mean at diagonal opposites of the room, occasionally breaking out into song for attention. Oh P.S.: his name was Mr. Dyck. Come on. The jokes wrote themselves.

This saint never kicked me out of his classroom.

But one day, I really did it. I’d been interrupting his lesson the whole morning (thinking I was getting away with it, because when Christy and I were split up, I was the lucky one who got to sit at the back with the other riff-raff). However, I’d clearly gotten his elastic to breaking point. His back to the class, he calmly but deliberately set down his chalk, and slowly turned around, hands clenched by his sides like a furious cartoon character. He strode toward me, the class silent, me so terrified I’d sucked my cheeks in, eyebrows high in anticipation. He finally finished the eternal journey to my desk, grabbed it at either side, brought his face to my level and stared at me. “VERONICA!!” Pause for terrifying effect. I may have started to sweat. “Sigh. Veronica, you have beautiful eyes.” And walked back up to the board and resumed his lesson. That morning, he accomplished what so many men since have wished they could: he rendered me speechless.

He eventually got me to go to Toastmasters for Kids 2 days a week, ostensibly so I could have a platform. But he finally got me out of his class.

Fast forward to high school. I HATED HATED HATED Physics, was terrible at it, and could never get it. In fact, I probably skipped about 80% of the class. It was the end of the year, and my family was moving back to Chile over the summer (topic for another post). My teacher, Mr. Forsyth (no material there) called me in to his classroom for a meeting a few days after writing the final exam. It was perimetered by chalkboards covered in formulas and vectors or whatever they’re called. He showed me my abysmal final grade (I’ve blocked it from my memory, but it was bad). Actually, it was probably pretty good for someone who’d phoned it in the entire semester. “Veronica, I want you to have a good report card to show to your new school in Chile. I am going to give you a passing grade. It was a pleasure having you in my classroom when you showed up.” Get out of jail. FREE.

Fast forward a few years to my job at the Canadian Embassy in Santiago. I’d become romantically involved with my direct supervisor, something we both knew we shouldn’t be doing, but couldn’t help ourselves. Relax, he was only 4 years older than I and unmarried. Still, we knew we could get fired for it if someone found out, but couldn’t stop. An internal job opened up, and I applied for it, and got it! A nice promotion too, I even got my own office. We could be open about our relationship after that, and I got invited to all the fancy parties with him. I even followed him back to Ottawa after his posting in Chile ended. But we broke up a few months later, because he turned out to be a commitment-phobe who wanted to recapture all the intense female attention he’d enjoyed when he was the cute young Canadian diplomat in a foreign country. But at least I got all my belongings shipped back to Canada with his, for free. Win.

Last story. This is long. If you’re still reading, I salute you.

Fast forward to just a couple of months ago. It was the day after my birthday. My coworker and I were commuting back home from the office, I was at the wheel. I should mention here that I’d lost my licence the previous month when I’d gone to Montreal (for a Tweetup!! Topic for another post). I’d used my driver’s licence as ID to get on my flight, and left it in the seat pocket and hadn’t gotten around to replacing it yet. OK, so we were driving in the HOV lane and were stuck behind this frustrating driver insisting on doing 10km UNDER the speed limit on the highway. Grrrr. First chance I got, I passed her on the right side, where there was a brief bus lane. Whoo! Smooth sailing after that! I stepped on it to make up for lost time. Well, I saw the inevitable blue & red lights in my rearview, bit of  a familiar sight for me.

I pulled over and the cop came up to me and I said, “Hi officer! Haha….um, would you believe I lost my licence?”

“You mean, it was revoked?”

“Oh no!! Certainly not. It’s on an Air Canada plane somewhere.”

“Do you have any photo ID?”

“Yes, my passport.”

“May I see it?”

“Well, not ON me. It’s at home.”

“Do you know why I stopped you today?”

“Was I ummmm going too fast?”

“That’s one reason. You also illegally and aggressively overtook that driver back there, I’ve been following you for a while. After you passed her, I actually lost you.”

“Well, she was going REALLY slow, and that should be against the law too. It’s very dangerous!”

He walked back to his car and to sit there and write up my ticket. I was so nervous my friend and I actually started cracking up, couldn’t stop laughing, freaking out, this ticket was going to be humdinger. Like, really serious. I was tallying up all the infractions in my head, and having a little experience with these matters, knew I might just have to remortgage my condo.

He came back to the car, and asked me to step out. Holy crap!!! He was going to arrest me!!! He asked me to walk back to between his car and mine, out of earshot of my friend.

“Veronica, you have 4 violations today, and your ticket is worth $478.”

“No no no, please, you can’t do this, I’m a single mom!! (my go-to line)

“All the more reason to drive more safely. I think you’re a speed demon.”

“No, I’m not, honestly!”

“Veronica, you’ve been stopped 5 times in the last 3 years!”

“But that’s very good for a South American!” – HA! He smiled in spite of himself. I was now going to work overtime to put on the cute.

“Veronica, in this country, we do not overtake drivers in illegal lanes and pick our own speed limits. But you’re in luck. I ran out of tickets in my ticket book, so today you’re not going to get one.”

“You mean, no ticket?”

“No ticket.”

“I don’t have to pay anything?”

“You don’t have to pay anything. This is your warning. But I’m keeping my eye out for a red Mazda with the ‘Habs Fan on Board’ sign in the back. You’d better be careful.”

I actually jumped up and down, and went, “OH YAY!!!” The people driving by would have been very confused.

I got out of there quick, before he changed his mind, but not before promising him I’d get my licence replaced, too. He said, “oh yeah, you have to do that”. My coworker could not BELIEVE me when I told her, “no ticket!! No ticket!! NO TICKET!!” Then she told me in her eloquent Scottish fashion, “you’ve got a golden horseshoe up your arse.”

And maybe I do. And maybe my luck will run out some day. But I’m enjoying it while I can! And I know, I know, maybe not so much with the ‘law-abiding citizen’ part.

OH AND P.S.: Would you believe I never had to replace my licence? Just as I was going to get around to it, it arrived in the mail. Some very nice person on an Air Canada flight found it and mailed it to me! Horseshoe.

Addendum: Got clocked doing 96 in a 50 in December. It was one of those B.S. traps where the limit changes at the end of the highway, in my defence. Cop was very preachy. But obviously in the Christmas spirit when he said I had better things to do with $368 and getting points on my licence and gave me just a WARNING. I may take him a gift basket. It’s not a bribe after the fact, right. HORSESHOE.



  1. I can’t recall those kinds of lucky breaks happening for me. But, I am happy that they do for you.


  2. mandyp88 says:

    Haha!! I can totally see you charming that officer! I’d looove to hear more about your romance in the embassy, sounds very entertaining 😉

    Have your kids ever noticed this luck? Do they ever ask about it/call you out on it?

    Lovely post!! Made me smile. 🙂


  3. Tom Bielke says:

    Like your blog alot. It’s fun to read it, your style to write is unconventional and entertaining. Keep it going, I’m already looking forward to the next chapter 🙂 xx


  4. Who could look into those beautiful eyes and risk them filling with tears?


  5. You charmer you.


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