Yesterday, distracted by unpleasant thoughts of work, I coasted through a stop sign on my way home, one of those “California stops” you may have heard about. I haven’t had a moving violation for over 11 years, but admittedly, I do this regularly so I had it coming.
The patrol car was on me so fast I almost thought they were expecting me. Pedestrians from the quiet neighborhood stared, as well as drivers in passing cars, as the officer wrote my citation. Not one to use a cell phone much, not even for distraction in a case such as this, I just sat there, feeling smaller with each stare.
As the officer returned my driver license he looked again at my picture and said, “You’ve really aged!”
I truly don’t mind aging, but coming from law enforcement during the course of duty this remark packed a lot of punch. I was actually surprised at the hurt I felt, and just said, “Thanks.” Then I added, truthfully, “The kids at work laughed, too, when they saw it.”
Probably sensing I was hurt, not hostile, he remarked that gray hair was rare in his family, even pointing to his own non-gray hair, seeming to try to soften the matter, but the hole he’d dug didn’t get any smaller.
At home, I postponed calling the retired professor I’d thought of the day before and retreated into my own world, making final preparations on a meat sauce for pasta bolognese I’d started in the slow cooker that morning. Amazing, how a roast slow-cooked for 12 hours with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and seasoning can replicate a sauce as good as one I once had in Montepulciano, Italy.
When Half Italian is published, you can find my meat sauce recipe at the end of Chapter 3.