You are looking at posts that were written in the month of April in the year 2005.
Posted on April 30th, 2005 by George.
I guess it ain’t over til you almost get arrested.
I’ll admit, I walked right into it. Yes, most parks close at sunset. But the gate was open and there were boaters there still coming in from a night of fishing. Yes, it was midnight and I wasn’t wearing a shirt, but I was just coming home from a pool party. I guess I should have known that cops like to hang out in public parks, waiting for trouble to come to them.
I don’t want to dislike the police. I try really hard not to. Their jobs are important and appreciated. I just wish sometimes they weren’t so confrontational. “To protect and to serve,” right? Not harass and demean.
In all fairness, I was pulled over a couple months ago for 40 in a 25 and after an apology the officer let me go. She was courteous, polite, and dare I say friendly. She made me feel like I was still a human being.
This is in stark contrast to this evening, however. All I wanted was some pictures of the night skyline, and the best view was from the beach in the park on the way home. No more than 30 seconds pass before I get a flashlight and an “Excuse me, what are you doing here?”
“Just taking some pictures of the night skyline,” I squinted, flashlight directly in my face.
“Are you aware that the park is closed?”
“I’m sorry, the gate was open.”
“Yeah, they leave it open most of the time. Do you live here?”
“Yes, I live just down the street,” I said, providing my address.
“What’s your name? Date of birth? Address? Is there anyone here with you? Is that your car?”
I answered all the questions, giving the address a second time. It went on like this for a few minutes. The whole time I kept reminding myself, “You’re not doing anything wrong. You’re not a criminal. The worst you’re guilty of is trespassing. Stay calm, be polite.”
When my interrogator had gathered all the information she could think of she said, “Stay right here.” I stood there as she walked off, inspected my car, ran my plates, and called in my address. Her partner sheepishly made small talk as we waited.
She eventually returned, satisfied that I was indeed a god-fearing, tax-paying, law-abiding local.
“Ok, finish taking your pictures and then you can go.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
So all’s well that ends well, right? Why am I even writing about this?
Because I always feel like less than a person when police are involved. Apprehension doesn’t begin to describe it. I sweat bullets. Thinking of bullets. It’s rare when a cop is nice, and that bothers me. Most of the time it seems like a power trip. God knows the pay isn’t worth it, so maybe it’s the authority that draws people to the profession. Or maybe it’s the ability to break the law to enforce it (read: speeding). If your lights aren’t on, I don’t think you should be able to drive faster than I’m allowed to. I asked a cop about this once and he said it was because sometimes the lights freak drivers out and they get in the way. Whatever.
All this is simply to say that cops make me nervous and uncomfortable, and I’ve never even committed a crime. Sometimes their actions can be frustrating and patronizing as well. Why is that? I know they deal with some pretty rotten people on a daily basis, and that would probably get to me too. But in these situations, it always feels like I’m guilty until proven innocent. And god forbid I try to invoke my Miranda rights. That’s a one-way ticket to an overnight jail stay. Instead I just stand there, give all my personal information willingly and politely like a good sheep, and get off with a warning. And for what? Trying to take some pictures? I know it would have been stupid, but sometimes I wish I had the courage to stand up for myself when questioned by cops. Sure, I’d probably have a record, but maybe then I wouldn’t feel so slimy and spineless. What do you think?
Posted on April 27th, 2005 by George.
So I can’t follow up a post like that without pointing out a fundamental property of life that continues to astound, amaze, and generally obfuscate me: the good is served up piping hot and fresh simultaneously with the bad. In the midst of the maelstrom last week there was still time for an incredible concert that was a privilege to experience: The Roots. I can’t claim to have seen nearly enough hip hop acts to gauge their game, but I can say it was more compelling and real than most other concerts I’ve been to regardless of genre. The guitarist was unreal, channeling Hendrix (complete with teeth-shredding licks). ?uestlove and the other percussionist lent a strong backbone to the sound, a rhythm so much more organic and satisfying than the samples used by so many rappers. The encore lasted thirty minutes (!) and included a medley of songs far removed from hip hop: everything from Nirvana to Blue Oyster Cult. At the end the lights came up and the band members signed the drum head, gathered up the drum sticks and other miscellany and threw them into the adoring crowd. Black Thought came down off the stage, shook hands with and signed autographs for everyone on the front lines. It was kickin’, and this was just a small university venue.
Embracing the good and neglecting the bad is also made easier with the appropriate perspective. Today I have said viewpoint for you in the form of some of the most well written prose on the topic of cosmology that I’ve ever run across. The author: Bill Bryson. The book: A Short History of Nearly Everything. You can read an excerpt here.
In other news, I can’t shake this illness but an afternoon of beach volleyball has put a sizeable dent in it. Maybe that’s the first step out of this quagmire. Today a coworker actually said, after hearing about the events of the past week, that I’d met my monthly quota. Here’s hoping.
Posted on April 24th, 2005 by George.
You’ve heard the old saw that when it rains, it pours. Well, when there’s trouble in paradise, it’s a hurricane. Lest you be led to believe that a day in the life of George is all peaches and cream, I give you the events of the week, in short format. We begin with not working out for a week (which has me cranky enough), move on to romantic strife, continue with my first sick day at work, follow through with losing my cellphone, and finish with the grand finale…wait for it…my car being totalled. Not by me, mind you, but the sleepy courier taking it back to Nashville.
I decided that if I could just make it home tonight and complete this entry, this might not be the end of the world. I’ve been accused before of always putting a positive spin on things, so in keeping with my reputation I’ll say this: tomorrow’s another day. And perhaps the rain will stop.
P.S. The title comes from the story No News.
Posted on April 19th, 2005 by George.
I hope any of you who remember that old Bill Cosby show have that song running through your head now. I know I’m dating myself but it’s worth it to spread the song virus. The only reason I thought of it in the first place was that I realized I don’t like to post unless I have a photo to accompany my text. Not that my words feel naked, they’re very progressive and self-assured, but a picture is worth so many of them and saves both of us a lot of time! Instead of reading five thousand characters and piecing them together into words that recall ideas that describe an event, BAM! I can just put you there at the event instantly. So much more powerful.
The first two are day and night shots from the outdoor symphony at UCF on Thursday. Then beach pics from the road trip I took with my parents this weekend (they came to visit, yay!) down the east coast of Florida. We’ll finish with a nice shot of a convertible GTO from last weekend’s company picnic. One of my favorite things about that car, besides its raw performance and iconic status in the American automotive lexicon, is the fact that GM borrowed the name from Ferrari. For the American ripoff the moniker meant nowhere near the original Gran Turismo Omologato but quickly took on a popular phrase indicating its voracious appetite: “Gas, Tires, and Oil.”
Posted on April 15th, 2005 by George.
My friend Mike enjoys the privilege of living on a canal, a luxury which few can now afford as the market in Florida skyrockets. He is very generous with his water, however, and this picture is from my first ever evening kayak. A fabulous experience and a great word: gotta love a palindrome.
Posted on April 11th, 2005 by George.
Thought you might enjoy some pics of the weekly volleyball game. It’s so nice to be playing again now that we’ve sprung forward in Daylight Savings Time. I’m waiting for Lay-c to bring her mad Chicago v-ball skillz down this way and show us how it’s really done.