Sunday, December 6, 2009

Running into the law in the RP

The other day I was driving back home from running an errand. As I came to a busy cross-street, I followed a car across it and continued down. I was familiar with the neighborhood, and suddenly, something didn't feel right, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I noticed that the car in front of me was an unmarked police car. It had slowed down, and I could tell that there were two people in it, driver and passenger. Through the rear window I could see the silhouette of the driver as the car stopped and he threw his arms up in the air in a questioning manner. I wondered what he was discussing with his partner, and idly considered the amusing fact that, since unmarked police cars were all so distinctly alike as to make them instantly recognizable as police cars, they seemed beside the point.

The car continued down the street, slowly, as did I. A bus came up from the opposite direction, and we both pulled over to let it pass. As it did, I marveled at how tight a fit it was.

The driver's window of the cop car rolled down and the driver motioned me forward. I thought that was nice, and began to pass, when he gave a quick BLAT on the siren and motioned me to stop when I was abreast of his car. I stopped and rolled the passenger side down. The man at the wheel had on dark glasses.

"Why are you following me?" he demanded.

I was completely stunned. What? Following him? What was he on about? I was on my guard, and some instinct told me to do the improv thing: take it in a new direction.

I smiled broadly and cocked me head. "Because you're cute."

He paused and looked away. "Well, thank you, but I can go down this street; you can't."

Then it hit me.

"Oh my God, is this a one-way street?"

"Yes, and you have to turn right here."

"Oh, I'm so sorry - OK, I'm turning; thank you."

Now, I'm sure there was a Do Not Enter sign at the end of the street; in fact, I recalled that I'd never gone down the street that way. But there are a lot of shop signs, and an overhanging traffic light, and a very busy streetscape, and that, combined with seeing a car ahead of me go down the street had caused me to overlook the sign and passively follow.

I have to say, I've encountered a fair few cops since I've been here, and they are rarely friendly.

And he wasn't cute. But he seemed the type who would think he was. Unmarked Crown Vic; dark glasses. Someone's a badass in his own head.

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