Pain, just pain, pain, pain. I got back from the term of service building the evacuation camp & found that my arm was burned, you know, the left arm. That is only a small amount of pain. Waking up the next morning, well, everything hurt.
That might be under played. What I meant to say was EVERYTHING hurt. There are parts of my body that I didn’t know existed, but thanks to the pain, I know exactly where they are.
And then, of course, I grabbed a speeding ticket on the way home. I had always thought that by “speed trap” people meant where the cops stopped when they went fishing. Not an entire town.
It was nice, a straight & empty back road. 60 miles an hour, right over the hill there was a “town” & it dropped down to 30. Just like that. By the time I had slowed down to 30, the town was gone & the speed limit was back up to 60 again.
The cop caught me when I was slowing down. I didn’t want to slam on the breaks & risk getting rear ended, so I took my foot off the gas & eased down to 30. That was a mistake. Apparently what law enforcement wants you to do is instantly slam on the breaks as hard as you can when the town pops up out of no where. That way, a block later, you’ll be at the required speed limit when it goes back up to 60.
My method, I was able to slow down to forty while passing the two houses & the towing garage that make up the quaint little town. The police officer clocked me when I was in the fifties.
“You know why I pulled you over son?”
“No idea.” Which was an honest answer.
“You blew threw my town.”
I felt like saying “What town?” but a part of me knew that wouldn’t go over well, not with a redneck cop with the obligatory pencil thin mustache, aviators, & faux Southern accent.
Instead, I just looked over my shoulder, as if I was wondering where the town was & answered.
“I was slowing down.”
“Yeah, I caught that. But you didn’t slow down did you?”
No, no I didn’t, but the sign alerting you to the 30 mile-an-hour change was right over the hill & the town was directly behind it.
“I was at thirty-five by the time the town was passed.” It was a lie, I was at 40, but if the town was more than a block I would have made it all the way down to 30 before it ended.
“So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to ticket you at 58 & not 60, because I saw you were slowing down.”
I guess that’s the difference between reckless driving & a $120 speeding ticket, but why can’t you ticket me at the 45 I was at when the town ended as abruptly as it started? Or better yet, why don’t you shove the ticket up your wahoo & move the 30 MPH sign down the road a little so people will have the time to slow down before they pass the three houses and the towing garage?
Wait, I know, because if you give people a warning you won’t be able to fulfill your one purpose in life & write tickets to the poor schmucks that don’t even realize three houses & a towing garage make a town.
Better yet, why don’t you move to Chicago & trying being a real cop. It must be nice knowing that you’re in the rear with the gear? Must be nice dressing up in a uniform, carrying a gun, pretending your a cop while the real police officers are working to protect the community & not working to harass poor sun-burnt travelers.
Instead I say:
“Thanks officer,” & I slowly raise the mental middle-finger. A word flashed through my mind, it starts with the letter “P” it’s followed by another, more archaic word that starts with the letter “B.”
I wonder what he would do if he ever had to, you know, actually enforce the law. Help people. Would helping people go against the small town cop code?
Do you think there are two different oaths?
You know, the city cops swear to serve & protect the community from murders, drug dealers, gangs, thieves, & rapists. Meanwhile the small town & suburban cops swear an oath to harass & abuse their power?
I’ll be honest though, I don’t have much interaction with Chicago cops. I mean, I talked to them a couple of times, when I was teaching & sort of got caught in a drive-by or three. And then I talked to them another time when I heard screams from outside my apartment & found the super beating a rapist with a baseball bat (got what he deserved if you ask me & the cops seemed to agree). I talked to them once when I accidentally walked into a bank (& proudly did not piss myself) while it was being robbed.
So yeah, not much experience with Chicago cops.
On the other hand, I’ve talked to suburban cops when I got ticketed for not slamming on the breaks to drop 30 miles-an-hour while driving past three houses & a towing garage. I talk to them when I got pulled over because one of the back passenger windows was iced over. Once in high school I walked to them & explained that I was waiting in the Jewel parking lot to give my little sister a ride home from work (I was actually taken out of the car & questioned for that). I explained once, when I was in college, why I was in Crystal Lake, but to be fair, I did have Black man in the passenger’s seat, so I’m assuming they were pulling him over & not me. I just happened to be driving when they decided to pull over the Black man in the passenger’s seat…& then wait for a second squad car before approaching me.
You know, because a couple of college kids are scary & totally require back-up. No, I’m joking, the back-up was probably just because there was a Black man in the car in the suburbs. Black men are scary, especially on Thanksgiving, when they are wearing a cardigan, are dressed sort of like Steve Urkle, & are getting progressively more pissed that the nice white family that invited him over to dinner were constantly pointing that out.
There you go. There is a point of diversity. Irish families spend dinner trying to get the best & funniest jibe in. Who is supposed to adapt there? The dinner guest of the host family?
I’m thinking we are justified. Reginald was totally dressed like Urkle…especially, you know, cardigan & glasses. He can’t be mad about that. He’s still sort of mad about that. However, the cop, totally unfair. That stop was not justified.
There is a difference in oaths isn’t there? You protect & serve here while you intimidate & harass there. Did you know that we own a tank in this redneck county?
The Chicago cops, I can see where they might need a tank. Out here in the sticks, nope, no need. That’s just to intimidate. Maybe they call the tank in for reinforcements when they pull over the one Black guy in town.
It’s like the shotgun in the cab. In the suburbs, they keep the street howitzer in the cab with them, just in case. In Chicago, they lock it up in the trunk, because there is real crime & they know their shotgun won’t be in the car for much longer if they have to exit the vehicle for more than five minutes.
In the suburbs, they will pull you over if they don’t recognize your car. In Chicago they will only pull you over if you’re driving down the sidewalk. You sort of have to represent a clear & present danger for the community in order for a Chicago cop to even bother with you. Out here you’ll get stopped for three under & three over.
So yeah, officer, thank you very much for writing the ticked two under sixty while I was clearly slowing down while driving through your town. That’s swell. I bet that generosity & that willingness to bend the rules will make you last ten seconds if you, you know, had to do what real cops do.