new cop in town?

The other day my hippy teenager, M., was on her way home and got pulled over for speeding on C.V. Road, which I can’t really comment on because I’ve been known to do the same thing -- the speeding part, not the getting caught part. But in her case, the cop pulled her over and detained her for an hour.

She passed the Breathalyzer test, walked the line, and answered many questions:

“Where are you coming from?”

“A Tilth meeting in the Valley.”

“What’s that?”

“A meeting of farmers to exchange information.”

“Are you for or against farming?”

When she was telling the story to R. and me, R. stopped her at this point to suggest an answer she could have used: “I’m anti-farming. I just dress this way because I’m trying to infiltrate the movement.”

The cop asked her whether she had a knife or any other weapons in her car. (Is it illegal, btw, to carry a knife in your car? I have never been asked that in a routine traffic stop.) She confessed to having a leatherman in her glovebox, one that she had found, well, actually sort of dug up, in the woods during the little window of time when she was still young enough to be digging around in the woods but old enough to keep the knife. Oh wait, I think she’s still in that window. I’m not sure if she explained the whole part about where she found the knife to him, or was just reminding us in the retelling of the story. I think she has that thing that many honest people do of over-answering when you feel put on the spot or wrongfully accused. Like, how could I possibly be the pothead you mistake me for when I have such a detailed explanation about digging up the knife?

He questioned her about whether she had any drug paraphernalia, because her eyes seemed a little bit dilated. She mentioned that she’d had a piece of organic apple pie at the Tilth meeting, and let him look through her car and backpack. He found nothing, but called for backup, and they waited by the side of the road until another cop with German Shepherds arrived to search and sniff her car and belongings. They found nothing.

Which reminds me of a side story about profiling: I got a cord of wood last week, cut in rounds, and I’ve been splitting away at it for many days, leading to a dull axe. I asked R. if he could take it to the auto parts store to get it sharpened. For a second, I worried that he’d get stopped on the way to town. If the leatherman was enough to cause the cop to get out the drug dogs, would R. end up in solitary confinement for transporting the axe? But I decided I was being ridiculous. Oh wait, was I?

“I don’t think they sharpen axes at the auto parts store.”

“Yes they do. I take it there all the time. Just carry it in, go to the back counter, and ask them. It costs about $5.”

“Are you sure that isn’t a woman-in-her-prime thing?”


“I don’t think they sharpen axes there.”

“Yes, they do.”

So he comes back later and says he brought the axe in, but the guy just looked at him and said, no, we don’t sharpen axes, confirming R.’s opinion that women get special treatment, and causing me to wonder how they’ve been sharpening my axe for years.

But speaking of profiling, the other day when I picked Joey up hitchhiking, it was pretty early, maybe 11 am, and he was already on his way home from town, quite drunk, as usual. I asked what he’d been up to, and he said he was doing community service to try to get his bicycle back, which had been impounded by the local police; he told me there’s a new chief in town, who confiscated Joey’s bike on his first day on the job. I haven’t heard about the new guy from anyone else, but clearly, he’s bikeless. The bike was impounded because Joey was riding while drunk, and he didn’t have the money to get it back. I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of community service he was doing, but I hope it works out. I’m not a fan of this new chief of police, if there really is one.

Oh, and vote, if you would. :-)


  1. Your life is definitely way more interesting than mine!

  2. This forced me to go back and read the Joey post, which was really good. Your life is indeed very interesting. And don't forget it. B


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