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New England cops, for the most part, are pretty easygoing. Midwest cops are too. But New Jersey cops are mean.

When I was in college in New Hamphire, I used to get pulled over a lot when I'd go driving (way too fast) on the twisty backroads, radio blaring. The cops were always very nice, never issuing me a ticket but always warning me to be more careful. They seemed genuinely concerned with my wellbeing.

In Missouri, I once got pulled over for four (apparently) ticketable offenses: indecent attire (bikini), driving barefoot (no excuse really), not having my license on my person (it was in the trunk), and blowing through a stop sign (which I'd realized was a bad idea as soon as I did it). I got a warning that time too, and a lesson in small town law.

Since moving to Boston I've been pulled over a few times, usually for executing an illegal u-turn directly in front of a no u-turn sign (I seem to accidentally do that alot). I've always had positive interactions with very sympathetic and helpful officers.

Some people would say that these examples all relate to my being female. I don't really think that's true, though. They might relate to my being amusing, because it seems that if you can get a cop to crack a smile you're usually home free.

But New Jersey cops are a whole other breed. They don't smile, ever. And I do some very good work under pressure, so I really do believe it's them and not me. In my hometown, I once got pulled over because I had temporary plates on my (brand new) Volkeswagen Jetta. I still had another 4 or 5 days to register my car, so technically I wasn't even doing anything wrong. The cop made me get out of the car, searched it (for what I have no idea - do I look like trouble?), and then told me that I needed to bring my car to the station and show it to him when I got the new plates screwed on. What was that about? When I brought my car to the station, newly plated, he followed me outside into the parking lot just to make sure. Too much time on your hands, anyone?

But he wasn't the only mean cop I crossed paths with in the Garden State. I once got pulled over on Thanksgiving when I was going to visit my boyfriend in Maine, by an officer who pointed at me. He wasn't even in his squard car! He just hooked his thumb and gestured to the side of the road. I always wondered what he would have done if I'd kept on driving? I was all decked out for the holidays in a tight red sweater and a short black skirt with pattent leather heels. I have to admit, I felt I'd earned my way out of a ticket that day. But I got it anyway - a hundred and twenty dollars worth of 'I don't give a damn how cute you look' and a couple of points on my insurance.

So I'm glad I've settled in Massachusetts, where so far I've had good luck with our boys in blue. But tomorrow BF and I are driving to Jersey to see my family, and you'd better believe I'm going to keep my eyes on the speedometer once we hit the parkway.