A couple of days ago -- while driving well within the speed limit -- I was waved over to the side of the street by a crowd of Parisian police officers -- four men, one woman.
Here follows a re-enactment of that encounter:
"Bonjour, Madame," says the leader of the group with a little salute.
"Bonjour, Monsieur." (I almost say "officer, sir" -- in English. I get nervous in situations like these. My husband is convinced I have a nefarious past, but I think it's uniforms. Some women are attracted to them; I get twitchy.")
"Turn off your engine." I turn off my engine.
"May I please have your license, your car registration certificate and the copy of your proof of insurance."
"Oui, bien sûr." Mind you I still don't know why they've pulled me over. And I'm afraid to ask.
At this point the entire herd is peering into the car as I turn to reach onto the back seat to retrieve my purse and hand over all the requested documents.
This is where the situation gets complicated and once again confirms my primal fear of authority figures in uniforms. As my throat closes up and my heart rate is topping out at 150, I'm beginning to realize I forgot to put the pertinent papers in my bag.
I know this for certain now because I've turned into a raving, raging banshee and I'm shaking the contents of my Chanel 2.55 and my sequined Vanessa Bruno tote all over the car.
At this precise moment, my husband turns to me and says with an appalling calm: "It doesn't really matter any more why they stopped you; you've already got three tickets and they might make you leave the car right here."
Instead of hitting him with one of the bags I look up at my official audience, take a deep breath and launch into an explanation of the situation. . .
"Yesterday I was wearing my French blue pea coat [YSL, but I didn't elaborate on labels] and with it my Lancel 'bucket bag' which is a lovely mauvy blue and the perfect pop of color for the jacket," I say trying on a sincere smile.
My husband is starting to get agitated. I ignore him.
"Today, as you can see I'm wearing my red pea coat [also YSL, but once again I didn't go there] and obviously my blue Lancel bucket bag doesn't go with it so I changed to my black sac (Chanel) and in the transition I forgot to make a complete content transfer."
My husband, wild-eyed, says to me -- in English: "Now you're going to have five tickets, they're going to think you're mocking them." I ignore him.
Then I look up at the police and say: "I swear this is true." Which it was.
And they let me go (!)
Moral of the story: One can never over-emphasize the importance of proper accessorizing.