There I was, sitting on the platform, sleepy and hungry. I didn't want to go to sleep because I didn't want to take a chance on missing the train. So the only thing I could think to do to keep from falling asleep was to eat my potato chips.

Now, I've been riding the Metro for more than 15 years, so I know -- just as you know -- all the rules. "Don't spit or throw trash," "don't play music except when connected to headphones," and the most important, which also happens to be the one I remember most, "do not eat or drink on the train."

I don't know about you, but I have never paid much attention to this. I mean, I've eaten entire meals on the train. The only things missing were silverware and candles.

With all this in mind, and because I was not even on the train, I decided to snack on my chips. They were in a nice, neat can, and I was eating them one at a time. As a matter of fact, I was so discreet that it almost looked as if I were chewing gum.

For added secrecy, just in case this was not my day, the can of chips was buried deep inside my book bag. So there was no reason why anyone should have even known that I was eating. That is, if you weren't watching me.

I ate chip after chip after chip -- I mean, I was getting my eat on. No crumbs, no bag, no noise, no nothing, when out of the blue, I heard a strange and unfriendly voice say, "Can you step this way please?" I looked up and "Columbo Jr." was standing there flashing what appeared to be a badge of some sort and gesturing for me to follow him. I was completely taken aback and in utter disbelief that I, the Queen of Eating Without Getting Caught, had actually gotten caught!

So, to spare myself the embarrassment and, of course, to look like I was not the least bit concerned about what was going to happen to me, I slowly put the top back on my can of chips, folded the page of the book I was reading so as not to lose my place, put my book away, zipped my bag, wiped my mouth, gathered everything around me, and then. . . . I went over to where he was.

By the time I got there, I could tell that he was somewhat upset that I took so long. I just felt like this: If I was going to be arrested or humiliated in any way, shape or form, I was not going to make it happen any sooner!

In his same, deep, interrogating voice, C.J. (Columbo Jr.) asked me, "Do you know why I'm writing you a ticket?"

"Yes," I said to him, in my most sarcastic voice.

"Well, first of all, let me thank you for being so cooperative. Most people like to create a scene and curse us out when we stop them. And since you didn't do that, I'm only going to give you a ticket." As if he had the power to handcuff me and make me lie face-down on the platform.

"Well, thank you very much," I said, again, very smug. I gave him my ID, he gave me the ticket for $10, instructed me on to how to pay it, and walked away. Away, in his trench coat and his badge to spy on the next person who thinks that they will get away from . . . Columbo Jr., the food police!

By the way, if I don't pay the ticket, will they put a "boot" on my leg if they catch me on the Metro again?