Tag Archives: police

Blowing off steam

Our run-in with that cop last Saturday night reminded me of another time that Porsche Guy was stopped by a police officer several years ago. I wasn’t with him, but the story is definitely worth repeating – and says volumes about this man!

PG was coming home from somewhere late at night (seems he does that a lot, doesn’t it?). He’s always quite careful with his drinking when he knows he will be driving home, and this time was no exception. He’d had just two beers all evening.

As has been previously established, he is also quite the enthusiastic driver. Yes, sometimes overly assertive, even aggressive, but always fully in control and aware of his limitations. Yes, he has been in a few car accidents in his life, but he has also avoided a few due to his skills. He has taken many driving courses on racetracks, and I would say he is a more competent driver than most of the rest of us. He truly loves cars and “going fast around a track”, as he so eloquently phrases it.

So this particular night, PG was cruising along above the posted speed limit, as many of us do, especially when conditions are good and there is little traffic. But he was spotted by a police officer, who pulled him over right smartly.

The officer came up to the window and leaned down to talk to PG. He began by asking PG if he knew how fast he was going. PG did, and told the officer. The cop then inquired as to whether or not PG was aware of the posted speed limit. PG was, and again told the officer what it was. Then the cop asked if he had been drinking. Ever honest, PG replied that yes, he had had a couple of beers throughout the evening. The cop looked at him quizzically and asked, “A couple of beers? How many was that, exactly?”

PG answered, “One or two, I guess.”

“One or two? Which was it, one or two?” the cop questioned further. (Man, these guys are sticklers for details, aren’t they?!)

PG thought a moment, then said, “Two. It was two beers.”

The cop, his hands still on the roof of the car, leaned in a bit further towards PG. “So. What’s gonna happen if you blow?”

PG looked up at the cop and said innocently, “I’m not that kind of guy!”

There was silence. The cop had his head down. PG couldn’t see his face, but he was shaking. PG realized that he was laughing.

Finally, the cop looked at PG again, still laughing. He backed away from the car, shaking his head and waving his hand. “Get outta here!” he said, with a grin on his face.

PG grinned back, thanked the officer, started up the car, and drove off with a wave of his own.

He did not speed …

… until he was at least block away.

Police story

Last night, Porsche Guy and I went to see a play. We went for a bite to eat and drinks afterwards. We had martinis. They were pretty strong, and since he was the driver, after one drink, he moved on to ginger ale. I wasn’t the driver so I had another. We were headed back to his place around midnight.

We were in my car. PG quite likes driving my car, and if that means I can have another drink, I am perfectly fine with that. He’s an … um … enthusiastic driver. But he’s very competent, having spent lots of time with high-speed driving instructors on racetracks. I am never scared when he is driving.

He had just come flying down this four-lane road, then slowed somewhat and turned a corner, perhaps a bit faster than I would have done. About a half-block up this street, a police car was parked in the opposite direction to ours. As he drove past (more sedately by now), PG chuckled and said, “Good thing I slowed down!”

We drove on. About a minute later, for some reason, I asked, “Did that cop turn around and follow us?”

PG glanced in the rear view mirror. He grinned ruefully. “Yep. He’s probably going to pull me over.”

Sure enough, one more left turn and a scant three blocks from PG’s apartment, the cop behind us turned his flashy red and blue lights on and PG pulled over.

We sat there for a while. The cop did too, obviously running the plates on the car to see if it was stolen. Finally, he emerged and came up to the window, shining his flashlight into the car.

He asked PG why he had taken the corner so aggressively. PG replied that this was a performance car and that he always drove performance cars like that. The officer told us that he too had owned a performance car, a Corvette, back when he was 18 and he too had driven it aggressively, but that now that he was older, he no longer drove like that. He asked again if there was any particular reason why PG had been driving aggressively, to which PG responded that no, there wasn’t.

The officer then said, “Have you been drinking this evening?”

I piped up at this point, helpfully. “I have! That’s why I’m the passenger!” Yeah, what a trooper I am. Take one for the team.

PG told the cop that he’d had only one drink with dinner. The cop didn’t seem to believe him. He asked PG to step out of the car.

They were out there for close to ten minutes. PG came back into the car chuckling. Apparently the cop had tried very hard to intimidate him. He began by insisting that if we were on our way home, we were going to where I live, which is about twenty-five kilometres from where we currently were. Obviously, when he had checked the license plate number, it had come out with my name and address, since I am the owner of the car. PG explained that no, we were going to his place, about three blocks away. The officer asked if we were married. PG said that we were not. The cop also asked PG when his birthday was. PG told him. At this point, PG told me, he thought that the cop realized that PG was almost old enough to be his father and that it was unlikely that PG would be cowed by the accusatory line of questioning that the cop was taking.

Still, he kept trying and went on to basically accuse PG of lying to him about having one drink, saying that he was sure that more had been consumed. When PG politely asked him why he thought so, the cop said that PG’s eyes didn’t seem to track the light properly, and he was swaying slightly as he stood there.

PG explained that this might be because he was tired, having been up since 5 am, and since it was now about 12:30 am, that meant that he had now been up for close to twenty hours. He also repeated that he could be lying, but he was not, and had truly only had one drink all evening. The cop then asked, “What are you gonna blow on the breathalyzer then?”

“I have no idea,” PG answered. “I guess I’d have to do it and see.”

The cop didn’t like this. “Why won’t you answer the question?!”

PG looked at him, a little confused. “What question? Do you mean what will I blow on the breathalyzer?”

“If you really had that little to drink, you should blow zero, shouldn’t you?” the cop said sarcastically.

“I guess so.”

“You guess so? Just answer the question!”

“Okay, okay, I’ll blow zero!” PG finally said.

And he did. So the officer had nothing and had to send us on our way.

And you know what? The officer never even requested to see PG’s driver’s license or the car registration! Wouldn’t you think that if you’re a cop and you stop a vehicle, that the first thing you’d do would be to verify the identity of the driver? And then verify the owner of the vehicle in question?

Now, I know that cops have a very difficult job that most of us (me, for sure!) would never want to do, but come on! It looked very much to me like this particular officer just didn’t have enough to do last night. He simply wasted about twenty minutes of our time. For absolutely nothing.

Also, I kind-of wonder what else might have been going on in the city around us while this officer was taking up our time. I wonder if maybe, just maybe, there was some criminal activity happening nearby that, because he was questioning PG so long, he missed entirely. I wonder if perhaps a real crime could have been prevented or some person in real need could have been helped during those twenty minutes.

Yeah, just wondering …

To serve and protect?

PG lives across the street from a neighbourhood pub. It’s a pretty nice place, with good food, and we go there often.

imagesUnfortunately, so do a number of what appears to be homeless people. While they don’t exactly patronize the pub, they do pop into the liquor store that is attached to the pub, and pick up whatever they can get cheaply. Then they go outside, sit on the cement ledge around the corner of the pub entrance, and proceed to drink their day away. Illegally. In public. One person is invariably joined by a few more, sometimes with shopping carts full of cans and bottles (or even all their personal belongings), sometimes with a portable stereo system, usually with more liquor. They get progressively louder and louder, and nastier and nastier. They are not always there, but they are there often enough that they are annoying.

There are a lot of seniors who live in this area, and I can imagine that they would be disturbed by all this going on on the street in front of their homes. I don’t like it, and I don’t even live there (nor am I a senior). It’s hard to walk past these people drinking on the sidewalk, because they end up taking up a great deal of walking space and harassing passersby for cigarettes or money. They also swear a lot, and if my own mother is anything to go by, seniors most emphatically do NOT like that.

A few days ago, I arrived at PG’s place in the middle of the afternoon. As I got out of my car, my ears were assaulted by the tune “Barbie Girl” by Aqua on some street person’s portable stereo. That’s an inane song at the best of times, but to hear it at full blast on a hot summer day is unbearable. PG was up on his balcony, gazing at the owner of the stereo and his buddies, who had obviously been drinking out there for quite a while and were also yelling and swearing at each other over the sound of the music. I yelled up at PG, “How long has this been going on?”

He yelled back, “A while!”

They eventually turned the stereo off and moved on.

The next day, PG and I were returning to his place from a walk up the street for brunch, and this time there were two men and a woman sitting there on the ledge outside the pub. The men were clearly well on their way to being tanked, and the woman seemed to be trying to reason with them. They were all really loud. We gingerly stepped past them and made our way towards his apartment. One of the other apartment residents, an older man, was leaning over his ground-floor balcony railing, watching the proceedings. He and PG talked briefly about how this drinking in public just wasn’t right, and how noisy it always got, and how disturbing it was to the neighbourhood. They agreed that it wasn’t the pub itself, it was these people who seemed to feel that it was okay to sit on the street and drink and disturb the peace.

When PG and I went inside, we watched as the two men began yelling louder and louder at each other, while the woman tried to calm them down. One of the men shoved her, so the other decided to try to strangle him. The woman tried to pull them apart. Fortunately, they did little damage to each other and soon let go and settled down somewhat. Then they began to swear and shout at each other again. Again, the woman tried to keep them apart and calm them down.

In the meantime, PG called the police.

We kept watching, waiting for a cop car to show up. There was more shouting and swearing, but the men refrained from further physical contact, and the woman persuaded them to go somewhere else. Then it was quiet. Twenty minutes later, not one, but two cop cars slowly cruised by. Good timing, officers!

I think PG should keep calling the police every time he notices people out there drinking. I understand that these may be people who are somewhat down on their luck right now, but that still doesn’t give them the right to illegally drink on the street and upset the residents with their loudness and off-colour language. And the police can’t move them along if they don’t know about it. And if the seniors are too nervous to call, well, PG certainly isn’t.

Would it do anything for those unfortunate street people, like help them find homes or find steady jobs or get them off alcohol or get them treatment for their mental issues? No. But it might help the people in this neighbourhood sleep a little more securely at night. And sometimes that’s all you can do.