Winter Road Trip, December 2018 (Part II)

This pic was taken when we were road-tripping in AZ in December 2015.

This is the continuation of my previous post. But before I continue, I want to reflect on that incident. I think about what I did, and I am actually glad that when something “bad” happened, instead of blaming others, I looked into myself first. I might be too self-centered, but it is not that bad this way, I think. I mean, there were (and maybe still are) times that when things go “wrong”, I think that somebody else might have made a mistake. This is not good, because that way I become blind of my own weaknesses; it’s like closing the possibility that I, too, can also do wrong. Hence, it reduces my chances to improve myself. But when things go wrong and I first think of what I might have possibly done wrong, then I can immediately make amends. I mean, we often constantly look faults in others, but we cannot fix them, can we? We, on the other hand, can fix ourselves. Well, at least that’s how I see it. It’s not the best, though; because sometimes we look into ourselves and find nothing’s wrong, then we start blaming others because somebody must take the blame, when in actuality it’s not always the case; i.e. it can be everybody’s fault or it’s nobody’s fault. Well, but I’m still glad that I make this reflection. The worse could have happened but I knew I was wrong so I apologized, and when I am thankful, I say “thank you.” I think that helped ease the tense after all… My friend, however, thought that that guy might be some attacking-Muslim guy. Well, I understand considering how the media spread the Islamophobia in the states. But strangely, it has never occurred to me. I mean, I’ve never had such thoughts. When the guy knocked on my car window, the thought that he might be Islamophobic didn’t come to my mind at all. I guess I was so concerned about my driving skills, so it must have had something to do with that, and I was right 😀

Anyway, after that incident with the guy, my friend took over the driving. She drove all the way to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But it was winter, so of course it got dark much faster and earlier. And while she was driving through a highway in Iowa, she suddenly pulled over and I didn’t quite understand what was happening. It turned out, though, that there was this sheriff behind us asking us to pull over. I didn’t realize that. I didn’t know that the sheriff came after us. And I was actually scared. Well, I have this (un)reasonable fear for police, not only in the states but also in my country and elsewhere. They simply make me nervous and anxious, as if I’m going to make a mistake. However, I tried my best to stay composed. Every time I feel scared or nervous, I always try to calm down. My friend tried to calm down as well. “Both hands on the wheel, stay calm.” She said to herself. Now that I think of it, it was really like those scenes in a movie or the viral videos. Scary but “amusing” in a way. The sheriff, however, didn’t knock on the driver’s window. He approached my side and knocked on my window instead. I was surprised and (if I remember correctly) when I was about to roll down my window, my friend already did it for me from her side. I didn’t exactly remember the order, but the sheriff asked my friend if she might have thought that he wasn’t coming over us. He asked if she realized that she was speeding and had overtaken him. (My friend knew she was speeding but didn’t realize that she had overtaken him).

I took this somewhere in the current road trip, possibly on our way from Sioux Falls to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

He asked if we were from Nevada (because that’s the plate number state). And while my friend tried to get her license on her purse on the backseat, the sheriff mostly talked to me. I told him that we were students, that we rented the car, that we were just road-tripping for Winter break, and that we were heading to Sioux Falls from Kansas City. And after he got my friend’s license, and documents (rental documents and the car documents), he went back to his car and after a while returned the license and the documents to us along with the paperwork, i.e. the fine. I told the sheriff we were sorry and he nodded and left, and I just wanted to leave it at that.

I told my friend that it’s okay and we can share the fine. But she looked surprised and asked if it was okay since it was her fault. I was unexpectedly surprised to hear that because I thought it was just natural to do that. We were together in this, no? But it got me to think: if the condition was reversed, i.e. I was the one speeding and got the ticket, I might have had to deal with it alone. Well, I would understand that it’s my fault and hence I should take responsibility for her, but with her, I really don’t want to make it harder and I really want to do what I can to make it easier. But she was really sure about not sharing the fine with me. She also told me that she could not find the record when she was about to pay the fine. So, I really don’t know. I hope the sheriff forgot to update their system. LoL But, well, I’m glad that it wasn’t me. I mean, of course it’s unfortunate that we got the ticket, but I was glad that I wasn’t the one who caused it. Had it been me, the trouble would have doubled because 1) it was her who rented the car, 2) I wasn’t registered as one of the drivers even though I was lawfully allowed to drive since I got the permit and my friend got a license. But, well, had it been me, I would have kept blaming myself for my awful driving skills, for the possibility that it might affect my friend’s “credibility” in renting a car, etc. I would have been worried and anxious fearing that she might be mad at me. It was scary. So I was glad that I didn’t have to go through all that. For me, as long as she knew that it’s her fault, it’s enough. I don’t have to make it worse by guilt-tripping her over it. I mean, sometimes we make mistakes, we know it, and we don’t need people to point it out for us because sometimes it hurts us more that way…

A pic I took when we stopped by at Nebraska National Forest in Chadron.

But, well, actually I’m glad that the sheriff asked us nicely. I said that to my friend but she disagreed; i.e. to her, he was not being nice. She thought that he could’ve asked if everything was okay with us, if we were in a hurry, why we were speeding, etc., but he didn’t. Me? Well, maybe I watched too many videos about violent police officers so I was just glad that such things didn’t happen to us. My friend didn’t budge, though. She said that he wasn’t a police officer; he was just a sheriff checking n patrolling in the highway. Apparently, they were different. But I was still glad. For me it’s just the same. I guess I always expected it to be worse, so I was glad when it wasn’t. I guess my insecurity and anxiety was really severe. Like, for instance, we stopped around Chadron, Nebraska and got some meal in the gas station store. I was about to fill my cup with water but I couldn’t find the stall. There were only cola, pepsi, and such. But they were not what I wanted, and I wasn’t sure if it was included or if I should pay extra for them. Then there were a lady and a guy asking if I found what I was looking for. I told them that I wanted to get some water. It turned out that for water, I just needed to get it from the tap/faucet. And I was glad that they asked so I could ask. I mean, they could’ve scolded me for taking too long in front of the drink fountains (?) looking like a fool. But they didn’t, so I was happy. Then when I was about to go out taking my food and drink heading to the car, my receipt fell and the cashier took it and gave it to me asking if I needed a plastic bag or such. Again, I was happy. I mean, he could’ve scolded me for being so clumsy, letting the receipt fall like that and litter, making him take it for me, but he didn’t, so I was thankful. Or like other times when we stopped by at Asian restaurants and I ordered fried rice, sometimes they would ask if it was okay since it had eggs in it. Haha I was happy that they asked, though. For me, it means they respected what I believed, even though they might have lacked the knowledge. Maybe they thought that Muslims were like vegans. Hehe (But no, Muslims do eat eggs, seafood, and halal meat 😊) I don’t know, for some people, it might have been what it’s supposed to be like. But for me, nice little gestures like that truly make me happy.


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