I'm so distraught right now and I wish I could say something really moving and eloquent about life and how this man was an example of class and integrity, but there are no words right now. Rest in peace.........
So okay, this blog is to thank the people that responded to my previous blogs. I'm still learning how to use the site and can't figure out how to thank you properly on your blogs but this has more to do with my lack of focus and sleep and general burnt-outedness (It could be a word!!) and not my lack of PC savvy.......but it's a bit of that too. I learned from Clever Girl Goes Blog that I can copyright this too which is cool but I'll have to look into that on a day where I'm more alert and capable of understanding legal jargon (which is usually on the 3rd Wednesday of every month). And coming soon will be my blog about the awesomeness that is Janet Jackson live in concert!! Thanks again all two of you for reading this. Tell your friends. In fact, tell your friends that it's better than it really is, what's a lie between friends?
So okay, outside of my semi-secret attraction to a man in uniform, I hate cops. I'm black so I guess I don't really have to explain that. I'm always being followed, but not really. I get them slowing down and driving 25mph when they're right next to me so I can feel like I'm speeding when I'm doing the speed limit. Or they're in the turning lane next to me but suddenly they have a change of course and they're behind me. And I'm never going anywhere near a doughnut shop. I've been stopped twice for jay walking (!!), and once the light was green but the hand was red according to the assho...er, officer. Another time I was pulled over for having an airfreshener hanging from my rearview mirror. Apparently this is illegal, (who knew? obviously not anyone from El Salvador or Mexico that has flags and rosaries hanging from their mirrors but I will have to get to the oppression of my brown brothers in another blog......probably closer to the election).
Magically, none of these encounters resulted in a ticket. That, I should have known, was not going to last. Of course, one day I'm minding my business driving down Burbank Blvd, (this street may be bad luck since I was about to turn onto this street when I was flagged down by Vanessa and Monique. see: the Bamboozled blog). I'm never speeding, I don't have a red car or anything that makes me standout other than my chocolately exterior that the Po-Po's (and older white men) seem to love. This time, it's my lack of a front license plate that caught their eye. Since, there was none there when I got the car from the dealer I didn't think this was a big deal, and really it's not.
They ask me through that creepy megaphone thing that sounds like Stephen Hawking as the Terminator to pull over to the right. I get over and stop the car and wonder what they could possibly want now. I knew that I was doing the speed limit and that my air freshner was tucked behind my garage door opener on the sun visor staining the beige interior with the blue dye and new car smell so I couldn't think of any other reason that they had to pull me over other than to beat me Rodney King-style. Honestly, I think they were hoping that I would be really difficult and pissed off so they could have that opportunity. When Cop1 walks up to the car he just stood there and didn't say anything so I asked if he wanted me to get out or something.
Cop1: "Are you used to getting out?"
Me (internally): "What the fuck is that supposed to mean? I'm not used to getting pulled over mutha fucka!"
Me (externally): "No."
Cop1: "We'll just have you turn off the car so you don't try to go anywhere."
Me (internally): "Are you fucking kidding me?"
Me (externally): Silence
So after he insults me and treats me like a hardened criminal, (they hate that I have no priors or warrants), he asked for license, insurance and registration. Which I had, but got frustrated when I couldn't find my current insurance. I knew that he could check that it was current when he ran the registration but that wouldn't necessarily keep him from beating me. I wasn't really panicked, but he must've sensed something because he kept telling me to calm down even though I didn't really get excited or show any outward signs of anxiousness. Actually, I think he was covering his bases so when they beat me down he could say that I was hysterical and he had to keep me from resisting.
Ultimately, everything seemed fine. He told me I needed the front plate. The ticket was only a $25 fix it ticket and it would be reduced to $10 if I went to the DMV for the new plate and had them sign off on it. A week or so later I had done this (I'll spare you the details of having to go to the hardware store and get screws to actually afix it to the car since having it in the window wasn't good enough). I made a copy of the ticket and sent it in with the $10 check to the court house and that was that..............or so I thought.
A couple of weeks later I get the ticket and the check back in the mail with a letter stating that it wasn't in the system yet and that the officer had one year to enter it in so there was a number to call to check on it. Periodically. Throughout the year. Are they kidding?
From my understanding the only thing I'd have to do was find out when the ticket was entered and re-send the check, but I knew that this scheme was designed to have me forget and end up having to pay the whole $25 or something nefarious and bureaucratic like that. And I was right. But I had greatly underestimated how low down the system really is.
Fast forward to yesterday (which was Friday). I had taken the day off of work because I was expecting an out of town guest. The plans fell through but I kept the day off because, just two weeks ago I was robbed and my wallet was stolen. I thought I'll use this day to get my new driver's license and run some errands since I have class and a concert on Saturday. I go to the DMV before it opens to make sure my trip is short and to the point. Unlike, most people my trips to the DMV are usually pretty painless so I was completely knocked on my ass when the lady in window 11 told me that there was a "Failure To Appear" on my record and she couldn't give me an new license until it was cleared.
I couldn't imagine where I had failed to appear, but quickly the stupid $10 ticket from a few months ago came to mind. So then it was off to the court house to find out what sort of clusterfuck the $10 ticket had caused. Luckily, I keep an ID separate from my Driver's license and I had that with me because I went straight there without going home to get the ticket and the check they sent back. The court house lady (this time at window 5), told me that I had a choice. I could pay $460 (!!!!), or I could go before the judge. I thought that I must've been hallucinating. I asked her if she was sure she had the price right, and reminded her this was a $10 ticket. At the most I thought they'd ask for the whole $25. I can't imagine what kind of new math they did to come up with that amount. Needless to say, I have a court date in October and I hope my judge is an older white (preferrably gay) male. I'm not afraid to use my chocolately masculine wiles to get my fee reduced.
So okay, sometimes I think that my brain doesn't send messages to the rest of my body quickly enough for me to realize I'm doing something stupid, so I end up in the middle of a stupid situation before I come up with a good plan for getting out of it. This would be okay if I could act on said plan in a timely fashion, but usually the best plan is avoid the situation in the first place.
Recently I ended up in one of these situations trying to be a good and helpful Samaritan. I'm in my car pulling up to an intersection, minding my business when I see two distressed looking girls trying to wave me down. At first I assumed it was a case of mistaken identity and they thought I was someone they knew or maybe they just needed directions, but deep down I knew that look. It was the 'can you help me?' look. But by 'help' they didn't mean information. I knew they would be asking for a ride and/or money and a normal person under these circumstances would roll up the window (or they would already be up and the AC would be on since it was like 90 degrees) and not make eye contact. I, as you may be coming to realize, am not normal.
Even though my instincts told me that these girls were not to be completely trusted I still acknowledged them and asked what was wrong. The first girl, who I'll just call Vanessa (since that's the name she gave me and it's probably not her real name!), tells me that they are waiting for some money to be wired to them through Western Union, but the one they're at is having machine trouble. The sob story was that they needed diapers and formula for their 3-4 kids (I can't remember and they're probably not real either) that are at home with their mother (oh yeah they're allegedly sisters too). So would I be so kind as to drop them off... Oh no I take that back, not drop them off, take them to the nearest Western Union and then bring them back there because it's near the house, and of course I have time for this. Technically I did. I was on my way to class but I was going early to sit in on an earlier class that I wasn't actually taking (another story for another blog). Anyway, all I really wanted was to get a smoothie before class. It was SO hot and I just wanted something fresh, fruity and delicious to quench my thirst. This was to be postponed for quite some time...
So Vanessa and Monique (the alleged sister), get into my car and thank me profusely for helping them out. Vanessa, who probably is a lot cuter when she isn't in sweats and looking stressed out (and trying to hustle innocent students), turns to ask me if I believe in psychics. She caught me off guard because at that point I was scanning the car for any valuables that might be easily accessible. Luckily there were none. The only thing sitting in the cup holder was my sour apple hand sanitizer (of which she did partake), my phone was in my pocket, and my school bag was in the back with Monique, but I doubted that she would need any paper or text books. When she asked the question I thought that she was going to tell me that it was fate that I picked her up, or that she felt I had a positive aura or something and I was prepared to not laugh at this. What I was not prepared for was for her to tell me that she was in fact a psychic and she could read my palm for the bargain price of $20. Before I had the chance to give her my "bitch-are-you-serious-I'm-giving-you-a-goddamn-ride"face she quickly rescinded her charge and said "Or, I could give you a free one once you bring us back." Thanks.
Next I drop them off at a Western Union spot a couple of blocks away and I tell her I have to get gas (which I was in desperate need of and should have been the reason I never picked them up in the first place. Damned hindsight!!). I assured her that I would be right back to get them and take them back to where I found them. A normal person would have been lying at this point, jumping at the opportunity to rid themselves these girls and considering the fact that Monique had a plastic shopping bag that contained something that looked suspiciously like Pull-Ups. But I'm not that person.
I went to a gas station a block a way and was annoyed to find that it was jam packed. It was Saturday and barely after noon so I couldn't understand where all these people had come from already, so instead of waiting in a line that would have either had me sitting in the street or in the way of everyone trying to get in or out, I decided to just leave. There was no line at Western Union so I figured they'd be done already anyway.
When I pull in the parking lot of the Western Union. I see Vanessa on her cell still wearing the same pained look she had when she flagged me down, and Monique is talking to (harassing?) a slightly frightened looking woman trying to go to the adjacent doughnut shop. So Vanessa hangs up the phone and tells me that, wait for it....................the money's not there! You think she would've saw that coming.
She motions for Monique to give up on her other victim and get in the car, then explains that she was just talking to Monique's babydaddy who was supposed to send the money and claims that he did send it but he's a big fat liar. I could've taken this moment to second guess Vanessa's psychic abilities and explain that she might've saved us all a lot of time (and gas!) had she checked this at the first Western Union, and maybe I should've because she would have felt bad and refrained from asking me for money. Alas, I didn't and she did. Fortunately, I had just had my wallet stolen the week prior (yet another story for another blog) and I was more guarded than usual in this area. Plus all I had was two fives and one was definitely for my smoothie, and I'm pretty sure she couldn't get any diapers for five dollars. I turned her down and decided not to add insult to injury by asking for my free palm reading.
In retrospect, I think not asking for the reading was actually a mistake. I think that there was never any money at Western Union and she knew it. She just wanted to impose on my kindness and she sensed that I was stupid enough to give her a ride and feel sorry for her and possibly give her some money or at least lead her to a new batch of suckers that she and her 'sister' could prey on. Her abilities were probably sharper than I gave her credit for. She tried to make some observations about me from just looking at me ("That's a fake smile. You're not really happy." Duh!), but I wouldn't take off my sunglasses. Maybe if I would've she could've told me if a relationship will come out of the situation I'm in now, or if I'm gonna do well on my Environmental Science test. But then again, the free offer was probably null and void since she the only money she was really expecting was from me, and all I had was two fives.
So okay, I decided to start this whole blogging thing over because the first time it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. I don't really even know exactly what I plan to do differently this time other than actually use it but I've decided to just let the words flow and see what happens.
I guess I can use it to chronicle the progress of my budding writing career since I've decided to work on a few projects and try to actually get them published and get paid for writing which would be the first step toward a real career. Technically, I have a career now in the insurance industry but I don't really consider it career so much as a safe and well disguised prison where I'm forced to sit in a cell (cubicle), and try not to let the abysmally low morale of the other inmates (co-workers) affect my disposition. This is the hardest job of all, underwriting be damned.
I'm sure that I will always take time to complain about how frustrating the writing process is and what pop culture soundbites are funny, interesting or infuriating at any given moment. Sarah Palin, John McCain's awesomely bad pick for a running mate (and controversy magnet) is my current target. I don't think he could have done a more thorough job of finding someone who not only can't be trusted, but is so fascinating/creepy that although I would never vote for her (or him) I hope she sticks around on the national stage just for her sheer ridiculousness and entertainment value.
Right now, I know that I'm pretty much writing this to myself so I will try to advertise it to people so I can get feedback about the things I'm talking about, get other points of view and just to know that I'm not wasting energy and someone is actually paying attention. I'm not on myspace or facebook at the moment. I cancelled both accounts because I realized I was wasting far too much time being distracted by hot people and word games respectively. So for now, I'm reachable only through my blog, (I know. I'm SO 21st century). And of course if someone out there in cyberspace is listening just let me know. Even if you think I suck and should just shut the fuck up. I'll appreciate it.