Double Jeopardy

Happy Monday!

I’m sitting on the ferry and I can’t help but remember a fateful ferry trip I took, gawd, like 13 or 14 years ago. The following story sounds made up. It is not.


I was about 19 or 20 and way back then, my boyfriend was my first true love. And, just in case you think I’m getting all maudlin here, I’m a big fan of this approach to the idea of my first true love >>

Pardon the profanity, but I think it’s a pretty good reminder. I’m grateful for all my experiences, regardless of the outcome, because if I changed any of them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m also very grateful for Adam, because he’s the guy who taught me what forever looks like.

Anyway, back to the story of the hour.

So, there we were, bored on the ferry, which was about 98 percent filled with passengers under the age of six (read: there was a lot of whining and high-pitched crying and no, it [mostly] wasn’t coming from me).

We grabbed some magazines and went to sit in the car on the vehicle deck. I quickly tired of my magazines (read: looking at the pictures) and started looking for other things to which I could turn my attention. This is when I found the handcuffs in the cup holder (what? Where do you keep your restraints?). I’m sure you’re wondering what the handcuffs were doing there, but remember, this is a good ten or eleven years before Fifty Shades of Grey were published (get your mind out of the gutter!). My ex-boyfriend was a mall cop security guard and the cuffs were from his work uniform.

He told me not to play with them, because he wasn’t sure he had the key. When he checked and found them, though, it was open season. I wanted to see if I could get out of them—I have really small wrists—I didn’t realize that they spin all the way around, so it’s literally impossible if they’re on tightly.

Just because we’d recently seen Double Jeopardy, he thought it’d be funny to handcuff me to the steering wheel (and having just rewatched the movie, I’d like to point out that Tommy Lee Jones cuffs Ashley Judd to the door handle, not the steering wheel, so clearly, this whole experience was unnecessary. Because a lack of accuracy in reenactment is obviously the main issue here.).

The novelty quickly wore off. Handcuffs are really uncomfortable (I suppose one isn’t really looking to the comfort of the wearer when trying to restrain them from illegal activities) and my arm was stretched across the stick shift. Yes, I’m hoping that you are realizing that there was, in fact, no hanky panky going on. Because, scouts’ honour, there really wasn’t.

Here’s where it all went wrong. Actually, I just reread that sentence and I suppose, if I’m being totally honest, this all started to go wrong long before this point. Possibly when the thought of playing with handcuffs crossed my mind, it all started to go downhill. Regardless, though, when it got worse is when, while trying to unlock the cuffs, my ex swore and looked at me awkwardly. This is because the key broke in the locking mechanism of the cuffs. For reals. If you don’t believe me, then you have a pretty good idea of how I felt in that moment, too.


We were, oh, maybe twenty minutes away from docking at Swartz Bay and I’m locked tightly to a steering wheel on the car deck. In case you haven’t sorted out the logistics, it is not possible to drive with you passenger’s arm cuffed to the steering wheel. We were definitely in a bind (har har). He didn’t know what to do about it and my options were somewhat limited. So, off he goes to find a ferry employee: I’m thinking for sure they must have handcuff keys, right? Because surely they might need to restrain an unruly passenger, right? I can’t be the first person to be in this situation, right?

Well, you guys: Wrong. Turns out they don’t carry handcuff keys. Know how I know? Because the employee who came and checked out what became known as our “predicament” asked his supervisor, who said it hadn’t occurred previously. I know this for sure, because there was a veritable parade of employees that came down to see the girl locked to the steering wheel situation. Even the captain dropped by. I was honoured. And still, I was really surprised that they didn’t carry cuffs, and—more importantly for me—the keys with which to unlock them. They were surprised that I was surprised. I guess we all learned something that day. I wonder if they carry cuffs/keys now…

They brought up some of the engineers, who tried to use bolt cutters, but while they could snip the cuffs in half (so I was free of the steering wheel), they couldn’t cut the cuff off my wrist. It was too tight to my skin and seriously, it was beginning to really hurt.

The cool part is that I got to visit the belly of the ship. Yup, I was escorted down to  engineering, where they put my wrist in a vise and were able to cut away the cuff.

By the time we drove off the ferry, every employee was waving at us with a massive knowing grin. Mortifying. At least that ridiculous car had tinted windows.

What made it better was that after I told my mom (who, thank heavens, has a pretty solid sense of humour), she got a call from a dear friend of the family, who worked for BC Ferries. He started to tell my mom that she’d never guess what happened on a sailing from the mainland to the island. Imagine his surprise when mom finished the sentence? It didn’t take long for him to realize just who had been the twit who’d had to be cut free from the steering wheel on the vehicle deck.

This really happened. I’m not making it up. Just for the record. In case you were starting to doubt me.