The Law Won (Twice)

January 16, 2008

I had two run-ins with the law this past weekend, one direct and the other not so much. Before I go any further, I should say that both were extremely minor, and probably boring as well. But seeing as how this is The Internet, I will elaborate anyway. Someone, somewhere, might care about these run-ins, and for this reason both stories are important. I will keep telling myself this for as long as you support the delusion.

The second one first (so backwards!):

I was driving. A strong rain began to pelt my car, and all the cars around it as well. My windshield was dirty, my wiper blades were dull, my tires were bald, and I hadn’t driven much over the course of the past six years (a result of living in Poor Person’s Purgatory New York City). Six years ago I would have taken the situation for a challenge. But last weekend it made me nervous. My future wife was in the passenger seat, and I didn’t want to hydroplane and possibly get into an accident because then she might get hurt. This would have been no good. Her face is too pretty and I love her and besides that I need someone to pick my nose. So, anyway, a strong pelting rain. A rain that bit my eyes.

As we got closer to The City, the rain stayed strong and the amount of traffic increased by about a million percent. This obviously made things even more difficult, and I soon ended up in an EZ-Pass toll lane instead of a cash toll lane when it came time to pay the man (for the privilege of independent movement). My ass was fresh out of EZ-Passes, so I couldn’t pull one out of there, and so not knowing what else to do when we came to that toll barrier, I put the car in park and looked (sheepishly!) around. Very soon, a tall, angry police officer approached the car.

I won’t go into specifics about what he said to me, except to say that it was comprised mostly of abusive questions as to why “it’s so hard to get into the right lane,” and angry professions about how “it’s not his job to collect money from people.” Being somewhat empathetic to his situation (as well as towards angry people in general) I apologized more than once, and attempted to explain to him what should have been pretty clear – that it was fucking raining like hell and I hadn’t done it on purpose. But that really only made him madder.

Partially he got madder was because I was right, but I think his problem with me also had a lot to do with the general fact that some angry people are going to be angry and abusive no matter how you choose to deal with them. Hit them back with a smile and a calm voice, and they’ll get madder. Give them some of their own medicine, and they’ll get madder. There’s no winning with them – they are angry not at you but at what you represent, a reflection of their own dissatisfaction with their life and situation. These feelings are only somewhat offset by shiny badges. A much better choice, for the unfortunate soul that finds himself subjected to them on a regular basis, would probably be to subvert all of these feelings, ball them together, and then plug them into a bureaucracy. That way more people – and their families – can pay the price for their emotional issues.

Anyway! My conversation with the toll booth police officer ended in him saying “don’t speak,” in a tone of voice that made me want to get out of the car and punch him in the face while speaking incessantly. I didn’t get out of the car, though, and I didn’t speak – because my future wife advised me to just stay silent and listen to him, and because had I done anything to piss him off further I most probably would have been both beaten up and arrested. This would not have been fun.

In the end I paid five dollars for a four dollar and fifty cent toll, the entire amount of which probably went into his pocket. I was also made afraid to exercise one of my rights as an American citizen because “I didn’t want no trouble” after making an understandable mistake while driving in pouring rain.

So that was fun. Read the rest of this entry »