Monday, June 14, 2010
Day 3 - The mule and Han Solo
Socorro - Roswell - Lubbock:
Yes, after twenty-some years of never getting a ticket, I got one today on U.S. Highway 380, 40 miles east of Roswell. I was stopped at first by one cop who said I was five miles over the speed limit. Then came the question,"Will you sign this document so I can search your vehicle? Do you write better Spanish than English?" after telling him about my plans for a 13-state rampage. I told him I didn't want to sign anything but if he'd like he could check my car for contraband.
Officer R. Potter (No. 2247) used his cute sniff dog while waiting for his cronies to arrive. The dog just sighed like a bored data entry worker and asked to be put back in the car. It was hot as a cowboy movie. All this time, the officer asked me to put my camera and my phone in the car (after I snuck a call to Baddicus).
The first backup to arrive was Native American...I think...I don't want to generalize! (No. 2279.) He joined Potter in checking out my engine, bumper, seat cushion, tires, etc. They also looked under the car. The minority fellow asked if I smoked. I said no, of course. I realized he'd found the turbo lighter that my brother Joe had lent me. Point one against me. Before all this, I was asked if I had any weapons on me...any marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroine and what have you. Boiling in the sun and thinking that my new tattoo was bleaching and giving me a chola persona didn't help my case.
The second hour, one of them handed me my umbrella. I'm definitely getting a tan on this trip. A third patrol officer, a woman who looked like Dexter's sister but with more meat, pulled up and began searching through my bag...the one that had hundreds of pills good for two months - my prescription meds. That really hit the cacti. One officer held my lighter and another Ziploc of pills. They felt bad for my red face. For the third time they asked if I'd like to sit with the dog in the air conditioned cop car with the AC on. I declined because I wanted to see what they were doing with my things. The woman also looked through my binder with my travel itinerary and my notes.
When it looked like no cocaine was stashed in the car - two hours into the incident - the officers approached me. The woman mentioned my meds and asked me if I'd taken any this morning. I said yes. She asked what they were and when I explained, she said all of the pills I took had a 'May cause drowsiness' warning. She said Officer Potter asked to inspect my car because I looked like I was shaking. So there, they were blaming my meds. I told them that I'd been taking those pills for years and that I'd developed a tolerance and they could call my doctor if they wanted.
I pointed at Potter and said, "You stopped me because I have a California plate and my car is unique." He shrugged. The woman answered, "Well, this is the main route for trafficking. And your explanation about traveling all over the country seemed far fetched."
I asked why and she said, "Well, we've concluded that you're a young woman driving on your own to visit different states. That's not what people usually do - especially a small woman like you."
Geez, there it was. They found nothing and tried to pin erroneous ticks on my meds, then on my temerity to travel on my own. F that! This is a free country. The woman asked me what I did for a living and for the first time in my life said that I was a writer because I didn't want to appear useless. She asked what my book was about and I mentioned vampires. She freaked out and went on and on about how much she loved Twilight. She jotted down my pen name. Surreal as fook!
I must say that those three K-9 cops were the nicest I've ever encountered. They bumshoved the crap out of me by sending me off with a $75 speeding ticket and killing two hours of my driving time. It was almost worth all the sunburn and demoralization when the moreno officer pointed at the thumb-size sticker on the back hatch of my car. "Who's this?" he asked suspiciously, thinking the image was some sort of Reggae ganja-guy. "Are you kidding?" I answered in disbelief. At this point I was pretty disgusted. "That's Han Solo, man!"
"Who is he? Star Wars?"
"Oh, I haven't seen the episode."
Anyway, I'm in Texas now. Never thought I'd feel safer in Bush country. Saw lighting and it rained a bit. The earth is very red in the western part of this state. Tomorrow I'm headed to Dallas. Lubbock is interesting. Nice red freeway overpasses. This is where Buddy Holly was born.