Thursday, June 23, 2005

Adventures with La Policia Numero Uno

A discussion on another forum about things to not say to cops prompted me to post this.

I was driving from Vegas to California in 2002 on my first cross-country roadtrip. I was about 40 miles into the state when I find a roadblock. Mandatory stop, no getting around it. So, I pull up with my Maryland tags on my Iowan car and my Satanic cat in the passenger seat and ask the guard what's up. He asks me, in a fairly odd accent, if I brought any produce from Nevada. It sounded like "are you the recluse from Aveda?" I didn't hear what he said, or, more to the point, after five days in Vegas at my crazy friend Doug's wedding, doing stand-up, car-bombs, sports books and watching a midget get teabagged by a naked Elvis impersonator, I didn't comprehend was he was saying, so I asked "excuse me?" as politely as my possibly-still-hung-over arse could. He said "produce!" like PRO-duce, not pro-DUCE, like "You need to produce that report now!" and I was simply baffled by his request. I asked "produce what? My license?" He then yelled "Fruit!"

So, great, this glorified tollboth collector is calling me gay.

I made the mistake of getting out of my car to ask "What?"

Step one, kids - don't get out of the car, ever.

He reached for his gun. Now, having grown up between DC and Baltimore, two of the more violent cities in the US, I've seen plenty of guns. I've fired a few, and while I'm comfortable around them, I'm not comfortable when they're loaded and being aimed at me. Never had any problems in DC, but had guns pulled on me in Des Moines, Iowa, and Nowheresville, CA. Yeah, this makes sense...

I go "calm down, Fife!" and put my hands up (Doug would have been proud). "I just can't understand a damned word you've been saying." He goes "Fruit! Do you have any fruit in your car?!?!? while holding his side arm. "Fruit?" I ask incredulously. "Nah, I'm allergic to it! Got a cat, though."

Apparently bringing the feline spawn of Hades into California is fine, but not a banana. Off I drove to LA. 30 minutes later, I realized I was pretty solidly into California when this happened. Obviously, California has ceded the 40 miles of state land near Nevada as a fruit-fly buffer zone.

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