It was one of those wintery Monday mornings that felt a little too early and a lot too cold. People were already honking at each other, probably with heart-rates that just can’t possibly bring along long and happy lives. And there I was, still a little asleep, trying to not get run over – and find my way to work.
When suddenly a police car pulled me over. My first thought: “Twice in four days – record numbers, girlfriend!” But then I remembered the cold cell phone between my colder ear and frozen shoulder, and promptly hung up the call. Too late, of course.
I had no choice but to blink right, stop the engine, and roll down my window. The friendly face greeted me Good Morning and—more seriously—asked: „Miss, do you know why I pulled you over?“ I said I did—well, because I did—and added: „Because you, too, wanted to say Hi to my little sister and wish her a Happy Birthday, didn’t you?“ ..My rosy cheeks (not from the cold) undoubtedly gave away how much I instantly regretted having made this rather cheeky statement. And so I looked down at my lap in which my brick phone was busily making all sorts of odd and blinking noises.
There was a pause by my window, then another one. The look on the officer’s face was absolutely poker-perfect, and I did not take that as a compliment. Finally, however, the man leaned in a bit and—almost in the same motion—proceeded to step away from the car! Confusion must have been written all over my face when the officer first gazed down the street, then looked back at me, and finally began to wave his green signal with the words: “Well then, onward young lady, and a happy day to you and your sister!”
Of course, I didn’t call her back right away, ..that would have been rather unwise, ..for more than the obvious reason. I still pulled over, though, ..but didn’t touch the brick. Instead, I just sat there, in the car, in the middle of the Monday morning madness, thinking, when I look at it this way, a stereotypically grumpy German police officer, perfectly groomed, trained, and capable, just let me off the hook, on a Monday morning, without any verbal or financial warning. Nothing big, still nice. But when I look at it the other way, that man wished me a happy day, and it made all the difference!
And so for a moment longer, I sat there by the side of the road, with traffic rushing by, eventually called back my sister and was then on my way again. It was a happy one, and one that began with a pause.