We Chinks have this silly superstition that misfortune would befall us if we gloat over others’ misfortune or brag about our good luck. As I type this entry, my wrists are firmly planted on my wooden table top (touchwood!) for good measure – I wouldn’t want to jinx my perfect driving record because I was trying to share with the world how I talked my way out of a US$371 fine for traveling on the car pool lane.
The next time you get pulled over by a cop for driving in a rental car on the car pool lane, you could evade a ticket as follows:
- Calm down, pull over and turn off that English radio channel you were listening to – for better results, pop a non-English music album into your stereo.
- Give your foreign driving license to the Highway Patrol policeman.
- When asked about anything at all, present to him a look of absolute bewilderment.
- Follow that up with plenty of gesticulation and yakking in a foreign language – you better hope he isn’t multi-lingual!
- DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT ever shake your head or nod your head in response to any of his questions, in case he’s smart enough to catch on that you actually understood his question.
- Look stupid and confused and point repeatedly to the nearest highway exit and the clock in your car.
I was late for my meeting 2 weeks ago as I was going down 101-S somewhere between Palo Alto and Mountain View, and took a chance to zip past the horrendous mass of crawling fuel-guzzling automobiles on the car pool lane. I caught sight of a Highway Patrol vehicle 5 car lengths away in the adjacent lane and quickly switched in, but he caught sight of me and actually slowed down and pulled me over. I gave him my foreign driving license, spoke Chinese to him the entire time and frustrated him thoroughly. In the end, he drew the car pool diamond logo and repeatedly cancelled it, before asking me to “get the hell out of here”.
I gladly obliged, and got away with bloody murder. 😉