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 …