Posted in Family, Today's File

What to Wear When Getting a Traffic Ticket

I know what you’re thinking: some cleavage and batted eyes might get a girl out of that ticket.  And they might.  Experience has shown me another option, though…

Grandma in G.S. uniform in the '70s

I’m a fourth-generation Girl Scout; my great-grandma joined as an adult in the 1930s when she signed up my grandma, hoping to curb Grandma’s tomboyish tendencies.  Great-Grandma Florence was a very proper lady with a college education who wore white gloves to the supermarket.  Grandma Joan took advantage of the Girl Scout opportunity to camp and ride horses–probably not what her ladylike mother had in mind.

my mom in the '60s (when the uniform still included a girdle!) packed for a G.S. trip to England

My grandpa owned a taxi-cab company when my mother was a teen, and (determined that his daughter should be able to drive any vehicle) used to have her take out the different cars from the fleet. It was in one of these cabs, when she was dressed in uniform for a troop meeting, that she rear-ended a car in front of her.  The other driver bailed out of his car in a fury, primed to berate the cabbie who’d just dinged his bumper…  and found himself instead face-to-face with a Girl Scout in pigtails who climbed down from the car and burst into tears. His bluster gave way to fluster, and he never filed a complaint against the cab company.

I also grew up in uniform–my early school pictures mostly featured gap-toothed grins and Brownie beanies.   Dressed for a Girl Scout award ceremony one evening in high school, I tried to park my over-long Oldsmobile, and learned too late that I didn’t yet fully understand the physics of the Y-turn in adjusting the vehicle’s approach to a tight parking spot.  I somehow managed to get my wheel-well hung up on the bumper of a pickup truck in the spot adjacent to the one I was attempting.  After some back-and-forth maneuvering I managed to get myself unstuck and climbed out–in tears!–to see what damage I’d done.  To my utter dismay and mortification, I discovered the pickup’s driver sitting in his cab, from which he’d been watching the whole spectacle.  For a second time in family history, tears and a badge sash evoked enough sympathy to avoid a ticket.

Three of five G.S. generations: sporting G.S. "tattoos" with my daughter & mom, 2004

The last time I was pulled over, it was (ironically) because my A.A. license-plate frame was “obscuring my registration tags.”  I’ve thought that maybe I should Be Prepared by keeping my old badge sash in the car for such occasions, but probably I’d do better just to drive well.  And I’ll remove that offensive A.A. frame, Officer–Girl Scout’s honor!


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

23 thoughts on “What to Wear When Getting a Traffic Ticket

  1. I loved reading your post today about your great grandmother and the generations of young women in your family that all participated in the girl scouts. It was quite charming and sweet -although I must agree that keeping the sash in your car for a third lightning strike moment may just tempt fate one too many times. Thanks for sharing the memories. Have a great night.


  2. License plate frames are banned in many locales. My dealer dared put one on my car after it had been in for a service visit. I brought it back to him and told him not to do that again. If I want a license plate frame, it’s going to be one that I chose.

    Girl Scouts now have to accept gender-confused boys, isn’t that interesting? Good for you, being active in the Girl Scouts. All girls need good role models.


    1. Sadly, this was a frame I DID want… And interestingly, it had been on the car for over a year when I got pulled over for it. Must have been a slow day. Or he knew I’d just bought the kids donuts… ;)


  3. In the UK where the Scouting movement started with Robert Baden Powell back in 1907 we used to have Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. Now girls can be Scouts but I don’t think boys are welcome in the Guides. Never was one myself but did work on a set of stamps about Scouting and it has a fascinating history.


    1. One of the four international Girl Scout/Guide centers (or should I say “centres” in this case) is in London, and named for Lord Baden-Powell’s wife… I have the uniform-pin still from my visit there in ’84 :)


  4. Hi Kana,
    From one Girl Scout to another, I thank you. In my blog a few days ago I shared my experience today as the Girl Scout leader of my granddaughter’s Daisy/Brownie troop. It is not like it was 55 years ago when my journey began, but it is still the most empowering organization for girls in the world. In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting in 2012, I am collecting stories for a book (to donate to the Girl Scouts). Would you be willing to share this story or another? Let me know. Thanks, Pris


    1. I’d be honored! I worked for a couple years as Program Director for Southern Idaho’s Silver Sage council–Between that and the family, LOTS of stories… :)


  5. Somehow I don’t think wearing a GS uniform would help me out in a traffic ticket situation, nor the cleavage technique. I’m doomed to pay the fine, I guess. Great stories; how awesome it is to have a common activity with so many generations in your family! Thanks for sharing with us.


  6. I still have my brownie uniform (with the belt and beanie, too) and my green GS uniform with its sash. When I was in Jr. High (early 80s) we only wore our green GS t-shirts that I believe had white collars. A jewelry box contains my various pins and several badges along with my Mother’s pins and somewhere around here is the 1970’s Brownie and GS manuals (with handy tiips like how to smooth out your dress and enter a car properly) . At Mom’s funeral we featured an article from a late 1940’s paper showing her in her uniform proudly saluting as well as her GS certificate. We were proud to be scouts. And I do still tease those friends of mine who were Camp Fire Girls. Bless their hearts.

    I know in Texas you can get a license plate that shows the GS logo on it. If they have it there, it might come in handy when you can’t get your sash on quickly enough, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed here that you never have to again. Car things are just not fun. Maybe in a pinch, throw up your fingers and say “On my honor, I will try to serve God, my country and mankind and not ever do that thing I just did again oh, and live by the Girl Scout law.” Then go for batting the eyelashes.


    1. Love it! I have my Grandma’s 1932 membership card, and uniform pieces and books from several eras… Including my badge sash and Gold Award, of course–still proud of those! ;)


  7. It’s lovely to read a story about another scouting family! Yep, us too! I never used the badge sash or uniform to get me out of a ticket, but I can certainly see how it would work wonders! Great piece. Thanks for the memories!


  8. Uniformed folks are sympathetic to other uniformed folks, although it might get awkward wearing a GS uniform all the time in the event you may need to garner favor. Then again when I was growing up some guy always walked around the neighborhood wearing a 1920’s pilot’s helmet and he seemed to get along just fine!


    1. Haha, maybe he knew the guy from my hometown who rode his trike everywhere in an orange prison jumpsuit with an umbrella-hat… ;) don’t know if that qualifies as a “uniform,” but he wore it as if it WERE one. ;)


  9. Great post! I think we need to establish what the “masculine wiles” are, and how men could deploy them in order to have similar success. Let’s see . . . we could . . . um . . . flex our biceps?


  10. Kana, your blog has quickly become one of my favorites. You are a wonderful story teller! Unfortunately, I was never a Girl Scout (but both my daughters are!) so when I was pulled over three times in quick succession in my “fast and furious” 20’s, not only did I not have a GS sash to fall back on, but I didn’t have the quick thinking to burst into tears until after the officer walked away from my car!


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