Op-Ed: Aren’t you the lady with the husband with two wives?

March 7, 2008
by Rosheen Taylor

Well, a funny thing happened a couple of weeks ago.

There was a message on my voicemail from a police officer whose name and station I couldn’t distinguish despite repeated re-winding—you know how annoying that is—asking my husband to contact him because his wife – that would be me – was on her way to hospital after a traffic accident! 

Of course, I wasn’t on my way to hospital, and neither had I been involved in a traffic accident. My husband was actually in Barcelona on business. So I immediately rang back the number which, thankfully, I could decipher, and it turned out to be a Connecticut police station. 

“You have a wrong ID here,” I helpfully told the station officer. “I’m my husband’s wife and I haven’t been in an accident.”

He wasn’t remotely interested. There didn’t seem to be any record of such an incident and he didn’t know who could have rung. Even my suggestions that either my husband has another wife or someone had stolen our identity didn’t phase him, as if these things happened all the time. Another wife, huh?  I was serious, he thought it funny. I pondered the idea for a second or two – you do hear about such things and it’s always those quiet nerdy types—so that must be it, problem solved, goodbye officer and thank you very much.  He’ll probably call again, he said, and that was that.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Barcelona . . .

My next conversation, across the Atlantic, went something like this: “Darling, your other wife has had a traffic accident in Connecticut and is on her way to hospital. Would you like me to send flowers, also, a police officer who nobody is able to identify needs to talk to you.”

My dear husband, Paul replied, “He shouldn’t be leaving messages like that,”  Well no, it can get you into all sorts of trouble.

“So, do you have another wife, and maybe four more children too, and another five cats and two dogs and a mortgage, is that where all the money goes?” 

“I might have,” he quipped in a deadpan voice.  Luckily, I have a sense of humor. 

Why the lack of interest in this confusion by the police officer? I think it is disturbing and worth investigating why someone else is driving a car that is registered to my husband.  We have turned in the plates of three cars in the last seven years – two of them to charities, so what was going on? 

Back in Connecticut . . .

Well, a week went by and another unintelligible message was left. Not to be defeated and anxious to sort this out, both of us listened intently to the voice mails, again and again and again. We finally agreed that the name sounded like “Ikon.” I was quite excited when I rang, “Officer Ikon, please.” I was confident, the problem would be solved any minute now. “Which one?” the station officer asked. The wind was taken out of my sails, “How many do you have?”  I was nervous but determined At least I had the right name.

But two Officer Ikons?  I was beginning to think that this was one of those Candid Camera-type things. So I repeated the whole story, again, and of course, the Officer Ikon I needed to speak to was not on duty until the following night.

How rumors get started

“Didn’t I speak to you last week,” queried the station officer. He might as well have said, “Aren’t you the lady with the husband who has two wives?”   

Well, finally early one morning I did speak to Officer Ikon – who is apparently I-a-c-a-h-n, from Derby, Connecticut, and he sounded very nice.  It was just a fender bender in heavy traffic, he said.   

Flushed with my success at finally tracking down the right officer,  I was determined not to let him go without more information. 

“The car seen leaving the scene of the accident turned out to be registered in your husband’s name” he explained.

“Really, what car is that?” I asked confidently, sure that I had all the answers. 

“1996 White Subaru Legacy ABC 1234 (not the real number)” he said in a very police- officer-y way. 

The hair stood up on the back of my neck. That is his car, the beat-up reliable old college car with Jerry Garcia stickers that he drives everyday to the station. Perhaps he does have another wife. I had convinced myself that it must be one of the old, donated cars and that the Department of Motor Vehicles had failed to change their records when we had turned the plates in. I had been looking forward to that conversation.

A simple explanation, or is it?

Silence – for a moment I was speechless – visions of a videoed interrogation flashed through my mind ending in an early morning confession. I watch a lot of cop shows. 

‘Well, it definitely wasn’t me, I wasn’t there and where is Derby anyway?’ I asked, thinking that this would convince him of my innocence. Just outside New Haven, apparently, “Could anyone else have been driving it?”  He carried on with his investigation.  Well, only the other wife, I thought, but decided that this was no time for jokes. “No,” I replied, “My husband was out of the country,”  Or was he?  I made a mental note to check his passport.

“So why do you have our number?”  He was not very forthcoming with information – is this a tactic? And why did he think I was driving?  It was a woman on her way to hospital to visit her daughter, he explained. Definitely not me, so if there is another wife then there is also another daughter. I hope she is feeling better.

“The number must have been taken down wrong,” he finally concluded. 

“Happens a lot does it?” I asked. Poor chap, I was feeling sorry for him now. He declined to answer. He was obviously no longer in a chatty mood.  Well, you wouldn’t be at 7 a.m. at the end of a long night shift, now would you? 

“Ok, if you say you weren’t there, you weren’t there. I’ll make a note that you called to say you weren’t there,” 

“So is that the end of it,” I asked. “I have your number and what is your name?”  he added. I didn’t feel entirely satisfied with this answer but realized that it would have to do. I am now busy sorting out my alibi – just in case .

Rosheen Taylor is a former news reporter for the Press Association and Daily Mail newspaper in London and has lived in Millwood since 2000.  She has five cats and two dogs, Bella and Georgia.


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