“Fog Line” Or How I Became a Victim of Vehicular Profiling

My short-short “Fog Line” has been published on Every Writer’s Resource:


“Fog Line” is one of my odder travel stories. I was actually somewhat surprised that I was able to get it published it as an individual piece, because the concept of vehicular profiling seemed to go straight over a lot of reader’s heads. In fact, the first editorial team that reviewed it responded with some rather biting criticism, including the comment “All that and he didn’t even ask for a date?? Where’s the story?!”

I loved that Dodge Van, I truly did, but, ancient and unusual as it was, it was a veritable magnet for attention from law enforcement. In my freshman year of college, I worked graveyard loading trucks for a shipping company, which meant driving home at four o’clock in the morning five days a week. I once got pulled over three nights in a row, with a new excuse from a different police officer every time. At least that sheriff in North Dakota was nice – and honest – about it. But then, he seemed to be motivated more by curiosity than suspicion.

Maybe it didn’t make for the most relatable story, but if nothing else, at least I learned what a fog line was.


“Fog Line” is one of the stories featured in my autobiographical short story and essay collection Stories from My Memory-Shelf: Fiction and Essays from My Past (only $2.99 Kindle, $6.99 paperback). To learn more about it, please visit the book’s webpage or subscribe to my newsletter.



14 thoughts on ““Fog Line” Or How I Became a Victim of Vehicular Profiling

  1. Norah

    Love this story Lori; and thanks for teaching me about the fog line. I agree with Geoff that a collection of seemingly unrelated (other than to the individual) stories is a great way of doing a memoir. It’s a bit like sitting around the kitchen table and sharing stories of your life, not necessarily in chronological order – just what comes to mind!


  2. Paula Reed Nancarrow

    On one trip coming back from Mankato to Minneapolis I was pulled over four times. My headlight was out, but there wasn’t anything I was going to be able to do about it until I got home! Unfortunately it was St. Patrick’s Day, and there were extra cops at every city limit on 169 looking for drunk drivers. I’d been celebrating something completely different that night – a friend’s daughter’s success in staying out of trouble for a year – and fortunately no alcohol was involved. Each time I was asked if I knew why I was being pulled over – and three of the times, of course, I did. I asked one officer if he couldn’t call ahead and tell the rest of them not to bother, but he just laughed and wrote me out a warning I could show them so they didn’t have to repeat the process. I really inflated the quotas that night.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TanGental

    What a great vignette, Lori. And what a great idea around memoire – stories from my memory shelf. Love it. Is it plagarisable as an idea? I’ve often thought I’d like to do a memoire if only for the kids and other generations so some family memory isn’t lost and this sounds like a far better idea than scrabbling around in a dull chronological timeline.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lorilschafer Post author

      It actually came about quite by accident. I had written all of these individual pieces just in the course of scrounging around for ideas. One day I looked at the pile and realized I had a whole collection going! It is a good way of doing it, too, if your life doesn’t have a unifying theme you want to explore, because it allows you to simply skip over the boring parts without loss of continuity. ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Charli Mills

    The Hub has a flashy car (our “James Bond” red Ford Fusion) leftover from our previous life when we both worked instead of one of us (and I’m not saying who) decided to give up a salary to write. But it’s not the car, it’s the hour–often his shift starts at 2:30 a.m. which puts him on the road right after the bars close. He’s been pulled over (and not ticketed) three times in one month!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jayne Denker

    Nice story! And I totally get it. I have an unusual car (a Fiat)–very distinctive in style and color–and I’ve been tailed by cops a ridiculous number of times since I bought it. They don’t pull me over to talk about it very often, though–I suspect because it’s too “girly” (the usual comment I get from strangers is that it’s “cute”). The biggest problem is I can’t do anything even slightly reckless on the road, because everyone in my village knows it’s me! :)



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