Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fail! (The name of this post borrowed from my good friend Glen)

Okay, so this blog is about scary things. What follows in this post REALLY SCARES ME!

There is a certain road in the area where I live. Most people refer to it as "The Hillside Road." I'm not going to tell you it's real name, nor am I going to tell you the Township which in lies, but for any local readers...that should be all the clues you need.

This local police department has a reputation for being a little hard-line. Nay...incessantly hard-line. In my 24 years I've had 6 incidents where cops were involved. 2 were speeding tickets, one I will never argue...the other coming from a speed trap of 55 to yeah. One from the report I gave from being hit by another car. One coming from when I accidentally drove through a stop sign one late night after Gravestone Manor, to which the cop saw my make up and told me that Gravestone Manor was cool and let me go. These four incidents all involved police departments that are not the one that this post focuses on.

However, the remaining Situation the first: Two years ago on December 1st--DECEMBER--we had freak storms in my area. These storms were reminiscent of storms that you have on 90 degree days in July. They rolled in around 8PM. I waited until 11:30PM to drive home just to make sure that any sort of debris was cleaned off the road. Low and behold, when I reach the "Hillside Road," and came upon the section that is in no way lit, nor are there any houses, I find that I must swerve to avoid hitting a downed tree limb of substantial size. There is a car behind me. About 3 miles down the road that car turns on its red and blue lights. He pulls me over and talks to me about 15 minutes, thinking I am drunk. I can tell because he is shoving the flashlight in my face. (Did you all know that cop's flashlights have Breathalyzers in them--they aren't accurate enough to serve as evidence, but they are accurate enough to warrant a sobriety test--I learned that in Driver's Ed) But I'm not a drinker and of course I'm not drunk. I tell him that I was trying to avoid the tree limb. Eventually he asks what high school I went too and I told him. He said, "well I don't recognize your name, and that's a good thing. Next time, stay in your lane." Yes sir, next time I will plow into the large tree limb and cause damage to my vehicle.

Incident the second: This happened tonight on the same road, in about the same place. I notice on the roadway are those little white piles that form once signal flares have burned down. But there are no lit flares and there are no remnants of flares other than those white piles of phosphorus. A few feet down the road is a "Work Area Ahead" sign. A few feet behind that is one of those signs with the picture of the flagman. I turn the corner and I see a cop car with its lights flashing and several construction trucks down the road. It looks like they are repairing a downed telephone wire. The cop car's door opens and I see that he has one of those flashlights with the light up cone to signal traffic. You know, because they like to think they have light sabres or something. Now again this is all happening around 3AM so its all very surreal. Who puts out "Work Area Ahead" and "Flagman" signs that early in the morning?

I think the cop is going to wave me through but he instead walks up to my window and pulls out his normal (Breathalyzer) flashlight. He asks me where I came from and I tell him. He asks me if I saw the Road Closed sign. I say no, the only signs I saw were the "flagman" sign. Now this is a critical point in the conversation. He could think it strange that I have mistaken the image of a flagman for the words "Road Closed," and then assume that perhaps something happened to the "Road Closed" sign. Or....he could be a jerk and think that I have the intelligence of a jar of almonds. He picks the latter. He asks me "why I didn't see and obey the Road Closed sign." Now mind you also, I have a respect for authority, so when a cop talks to me I sound like a blubbering idiot. I say the following things, after each response he again asks me "why didn't you see and obey the Road Closed sign." I say: I was listening to the radio (this evoked an added--listening to the radio means you can't read a sign?--, I thought you were performing the same action that cops do on the interstate when there is construction, which is why I slowed down, and I thought you were the signal man.

I was so caught off guard by the fact that there was no Road Closed sign that I must have sounded drunk. I'm really surprised he didn't pull me out of the car in all actuality. He gives me this speech about how important it is to pay attention, totally demeaning my ability to confuse images with words and then tells me to turn around and go back the other way. Really? Couldn't he have just said that from the get go?

Now here is why I'm scared: I turned around I went all the way back down the road just to make sure that I didn't miss the sign and that I wasn't an idiot. There was no sign. Only the "Work Area Ahead" and "Flagman" signs. Theoretically this guy could have given me a ticket. Isn't that frightening? He didn't but he could have. I'm scared because if he did, I would have had to go through a protracted series of event to clear my name and avoid paying the ticket--or--suck it up and pay the immense fine, to which I just don't have the funding for at this point in time.

I will concede the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps the sign got knocked over. Maybe the road crew or another cop removed the sign, thinking that the area was secure. But I swear on my life I didn't see one. Also--don't you normally put "Road Closed" signs in the middle of the road to prevent people from going further? I saw those white piles of phosphorus from the flares....usually when you see those piles, it means that whatever happen has been taken care of and you can continue. Also, the cop car was on the side of the road as opposed to blocking it from on coming traffic. All of this, combined with no visible "Road Closed" sign, to me anyhow at 3 AM while listening to Sirus NFL radio talk about how awful JeMarcus Russell is, means to me, that the roadway is open, but to proceed with caution. It scares me that I was in a position where I could have received a ticket for in my mind, correctly interpreting the scene that was in front of me. I also would like to add that instead of trying to nose my way through the construction area, I did come to a complete stop and wait for the officer to instruct me further. I was ill prepared for the interrogation and lecture.

I also find it very peculiar that the cops in this Township are the biggest jerks. Two encounters; two bitter tastes in my mouth. All the other local cops of the municipalities in which I conduct most of my daily activities are really nice guys. I know not a lot happens in this Township...other than the occasional Prison Break attempt or the Water Reservoir coming under stress and almost breaking, thus causing a disastrous flash flood, so maybe a guy like me allows these cops to get their kicks and in so doing, take the edge off. But seriously--why you gotta be like that? What good is it doing you or the community you swore to protect and serve?

As I turned around and started backwards to determine whether or not I had missed the Road Closed sign, I saw three other vehicles, one of the drivers on a cell phone, heading past the "Flagman" sign. I, in someway, felt vindicated.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, or that would be an excellent start to a spooky story if your protagonist were just a teensy bit more curious. Like...why did that cop want you so badly to believe that there was a road closed sign? Maybe they were doing illicit creepy things and not really roadwork?? Gah!