The Coatless Cop, Coldplay, Cooper & Me

By Haven Lindsey  in  blog  on  11.12.2013

There is so much I enjoy about music…the different genre’s, the lyrics and rifts, the beats and crescendo’s and the ability it has to temporarily transport us to a different place in our mind at any given time. I am interested in how artists influence one another and discover at different times that different sections of a song will resonate with me. So last week while driving my Mini Cooper to a friend’s house I was enjoying the fun and freedom of having the volume very high while listening to a Coldplay CD from my little car’s large stereo. Caught up in the sound of Chris Martin’s voice breaking as it tends to do on certain notes, I had allowed my attention to roam far beyond the fundamental obligation of the speedometer.

I was abruptly brought back to reality by the blue flashing lights in my rear-view mirror. As I pulled over, I turned the volume down slightly, but not all the way. Despite the pending visit by the pesky officer with the flashing lights, Coldplay seemed destined to be my ticket-receiving background music. It was a cold morning, the temperature was below freezing, and I had all heaters engaged: the seat and both upper and floor fans were working to keep me warm. Inside my heated, music-filled British auto-car, with the British band playing British music, I was wearing a coat, scarf and gloves and not looking forward to rolling down my window to allow the precious heat to flee in order to hear the proverbial, “License and Registration please”.

As Chris Martin continued to croon in his voice-cracking manner and the heat continued to blast from the vents, I rolled down my window to see a police officer standing at my window without a coat. Not only was he not wearing a coat, he was wearing a short-sleeved shirt. It was 31 degrees. In what must have been a brain-frozen moment, I lost all capacity to follow the general ‘get-pulled-over-for-speeding-rules’. When the coatless officer leaned into my miniature car and asked if I knew why he pulled me over, I responded by saying, “Where’s your coat?”. At that point I had broken with protocol, instead of listening to the officer and being concerned that I had been driving a little too fast on an empty road, I heard myself talking at him…“Do you know how cold it is?”“I’ve got my heat blasting and you’re wearing short sleeves”“Where is your coat?”.“Why aren’t you wearing a coat?”.  I couldn’t stop, some deeply, embedded message spewed from me like a slow-motion, somewhat frozen volcanic eruption. I heard myself, but couldn’t stop and meanwhile Chris Martin and Coldplay had become my “Where is your coat”  theme music.

The coatless officer, likely taken aback by the woman driving the small car on an empty road actually began to answer my questions. I heard him explain he had been sitting in his warm car all morning, that he had been drinking a hot cup of coffee and that he isn’t outside all that much. I know I was shaking my head in disapproval and I could not seem to stop myself. For me it was not about my speeding, or a potential ticket, it was all about this officer standing outside my car in 31-degree weather wearing short-sleeves.

I gave the coatless officer my license, registration and insurance information and probably way more facts than he needed to verify that I was not an errant serial killer on the loose listening to Coldplay at 8am in a well-heated British auto-car while driving a little too fast on an empty road. As he verified my non-serial killer status I rolled up my window and once again listened to what I presumed would be my ticket-receiving background music.

The officer returned in a manner of minutes. Chris Martin was still singing the same song as the coatless officer once again leaned into my little car and said, “Ma’am…I’ll make a deal with you….if you slow down, I’ll put on my coat”. We shook hands through the window as I said, “Deal” and then proceeded to put all the insurance and registration cards back in the little packs. I was grateful the coatless office had chosen not to give me a ticket but found myself more pleased that he was going to put on his coat.

As I pulled out onto the empty road, I turned up the volume once again and looked in my rear-view mirror….the officer had put on his coat. I drove just under the speed limit. Deal.

Thanks for reading,
~ Haven

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