I’m not against the police; I’m just afraid of them. –Alfred Hitchcock
Larakin recently wrote about a harrowing experience he had just before Christmas. He witnessed an accident, barely avoiding it himself, and stayed to help out and answer questions. And in spite of his good deeds, he got treated like ass by the cop. That reminded me of a story of my own.
I had an accident 4 or 5 years ago on one of Philly’s busiest highways, the always delightful Schuylkill Expressway (I think just before the Zoo exit, for those that know it).
It was during rush hour, and if that wasn’t bad enough, the Sixers were in the playoffs that night.
It was really just a fender bender, but still very scary for me because of all the traffic. Not to mention that it was my first (and only) accident, and I was all alone. I was only a couple miles from my destination, but it might as well have been hundreds.
Ironically, the traffic may have actually been a good thing, as it caused me to only be moving at 25 mph when it happened. On the other hand, had there not been so much traffic, I probably would have reached my destination before I fell asleep…. I guess I’ll never know.
Anyway, the point of this story is that the cop was a complete and total jerkoff.
As I was fumbling for the vehicle registration, he used the opportunity to berate me for not knowing precisely where it was.
I said “I’m sorry, this is my father’s car, and I’ve been away at college so I haven’t driven it recently.”
His response? “You should never drive a car without knowing where the registration is.”
Which, okay, I guess he was right, but give me a break!! After all, I knew it was in the glove compartment somewhere! He kept harping on it until I finally gave him the registration.
Then, in an even nastier tone, he asked “Why did you tell me this was your father’s car?”
Bewildered, I looked at him, and stammered “Because… it… is.”
He then shoved the registration into my face and yelled “But it says your name right here!”
I looked at it and realized he was referring, not to my name, but to my mother’s, which also happened to be on the registration. She’s Kathleen and I’m Katharine. Yes, they are similar. No, they are not the same. (Something the post office could never figure out either, I might add). Get some goddamn reading glasses, people.
So I explained this to him and he just sort of muttered “Oh, okay.” Then he went back to lecturing me about the registration.
It would have been different if he just pointed to the registration and said “I thought you said this wasn’t your car, but isn’t this your name?” But he yelled at me and treated me like I was a liar.
I was visibly scared, and obviously emotional, and that cop just used me to get himself off on some power trip. He was a total asshole. I really should have complained about it.
On the other hand, the police were pretty good to me that time I got trapped in my bathroom…. But I’ll leave that story for another time.