Ever since I passed my driving test last Millenium*, I have always made sure that I have carried my license around with me in case I get pulled over. For the first twelve years, my license remained in pristine condition as it hibernated in my cash box for eleven-and-a-half of those years!
Then, back in 2000, I bought my first car - which I am still driving today - and my license found a new home in my back pocket, where it was subjected to all kinds of abuse from being sat on to enduring the heat generated by a little salsa dancing.
People always said to me that I need not carry it around as it was unlikely I would get pulled over. Being the kind of nervous person I am, that didn't stop me worrying about it.
Fast forward to last Thursday and it finally happened.
I had been allowed out of rehearsals a little earlier, so headed to my mate's to play PS3 for a bit as I have still to get one of my own. As is normal with gaming, things went on a little longer than expected so I didn't get to pick my car up from my usual parking spot until gone 12:30.
Getting onto the ring road, I pulled up behind a car at the traffic lights and noticed the array of lights in the back window that made me think someone had bling'd up for a mobile disco. Then I saw the camera. Cop car.
Uh oh, my tax disc had expired half-an-hour before. I knew I was going to get pulled over.
Pulling away from the lights, the copper pulled out and slowed right down so that I was forced to undertake, then switched on his blue lights. I admit I was shaking some, but not so much I couldn't pull in smoothly without hitting the barriers.
"Nothing to worry about, Sir, this is just a routine check."
Routine check? Is there any such thing? Isn't it just a euphemism for "You look dodgy"?
Anyway, out came all the questions you would expect, followed by the request for documents and yes, my driving license would be fine. Little did he know.
Pulling my license from my back pocket, I extracted it from the remains of the plastic wallet it originally came in and handed him the remains of my license. I say 'remains' as it is now in such a state that it resembles a centuries-old document ready to dissolve into dust at the slightest touch. I think he thought the same thing.
"Don't see many of those around any more" he said, trying to hide his surprise and handling it between thumb and forefinger as he attempted to open it to see how many points I had scored so far. Thankfully, I'm not very good at these games and have, so far, scored nil.
I think that must have been enough for him to not take things any further as he said goodnight and released me back to the wild to continue my journey home.
Then I started to shake.
* How old do I feel now?!?!