As in “This is some…”
One night in San Diego my car a mint condition Electric Blue ’73 440 Charger, died on the way home from work. I was about 3 blocks away when it happened. I was able to pull into a parking space and lock up the car. The plan was to walk the remaining distance, get some tools, a flashlight and see what I could do to get it running.
One block from my apartment, SDPD stopped me and demanded ID. No reason was given and I was smart enough to not ask why at that time.
I showed my military ID (I’d been in the Navy nearly six years by this time) and after some mumbling they let me go. That was in 1982 I was not yet 24 yrs old.
Jump ahead to 1984. Same car but now we are passing through the town of Bethpage, NY (little town on the Nassau/Suffolk county border out on Long Island) on the way to work to what was then Grumman. I’d just started a job as a “teleprocessing analyst” (don’t ask). I get stopped again. This time the claim is I was speeding. The speed limit was 35 MPH. I was doing 40 MPH. The ticket said I doubled the speeding ticket. We are not even going to talk about how many points etc. I got hit with.
Jump ahead to 1986. New job . This time I have a night time network management gig at British Airways’ headquarters located on Park Avenue in New York. New car. A brand new black IROC Camaro. Loaded. 5 speed T-tops. Louvers over the rear window. All the goodies. Nightly, I would drive from midtown Manhattan back out to Huntington, Long Island where I was living at the time. I would get stopped by Nassau or Suffolk County police asking for ID. They run my plates. Nothing. No warrants etc. No ticket. I’m let go. In the coming months I notice that I am seeing a lot of unmarked police cars in my travels and they always seem to follow me for a period of time. I say to myself “…this is some Bull…”
Eventually I get rid of the car and move into New York City renting an apartment in Harlem. (One less headache right?)
Its now the mid ’90s and I am playing the bass in a really good band with some amazing cats. On this particular day I’m heading back to my apartment after a jam session. I have my bass in a guitar bag that I carry over one shoulder. Its one of those short headless basses. Maybe a little under a yard long. I see two transit cops on the subway platform to my left and I without thinking turn to my right and head the other way.
The F Train pulls into the station and as I’m about to step onto the train, I am yanked off the train by these two cops. They want to know what is in the bag. I tell them its my bass. They say it could be a gun. I think I wished I had a gun at that point. It takes all of 10 seconds to show them I really had a bass in the bag. But it took them half an hour to decide what to do with me. I think to myself “This is really some Bull…” I started taking taxis. Mainly “Gypsy cabs” when I can but in some parts of NYC you have to catch a Yellow or “Medallion” cab as they are the only type of taxi available in some parts of the City. Which is problematic because they don’t always want to take you to Brooklyn which was where I was living at the time.
A short time passes – now I find myself on the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan trying to catch a yellow cab (guess where I want to go.) No such luck. they just zoom by (I could’ve sworn some of them even sped up). So I had the young lady I was with stand 10 feet away and try to flag down a cab. Took all of a few seconds. As she got in I joined her. The driver, some dude from the Middle East drives half a block and decides that he’s “Off Dootie”. I’m like you can’t go off duty after taking a fare. We argue back and forth and I tell him “…okay fine drop us off at the next corner” (it was well lit and I wanted witnesses).
Once we got to the corner, I decided we’re not leaving that cab. He gets all excited – starts bouncing around in the front seat as though he’s reaching for something and the young lady is out of there. I mean it was like someone had pulled a rope. She opens her door on the street side of the cab just as another cab is passing by. The taxi door clips the passing taxi cab and its mirror comes off. Naturally the passing cab pulls over. Now, while this is going on, I am yelling out of the cab to passersby to call a cop. No one listens. They look me dead in the face and keep walking. Lovely.
The driver of the cab I was in gets really pissed now and he jumps out of the car. Naturally me thinking he was going after her gets out too. He opens his trunk to take out a tire iron. By time I get back to the rear of the car he is stepping in the direction the young lady headed off in with this tire iron in his hand. I grab him by the neck and then it hits me. This guy is like 4 1/2 feet tall! I say to him “Gimme that damn tire iron. Are you nuts? You gonna hit her with a tire iron? Really?” I throw it to the ground as I look about for the now missing lady that was with me. I happen to glance over to a car that stopped at the light. It was stopped beside the cab I’d just vacated. There was this lady sitting in the front passenger seat with those glasses you see in the old Far Side comics looking at me like “Omigod!!! Omigod!!!” You’d think she was staring at Godzilla or something. I’m still holding this guy keeping him from running off after the young lady I was with. (Okay maybe I was bouncing him off of the hood of their car. Things were happening kinda fast…)
Nooow the police show up. Two of them and they are making a bee line towards me hands hovering over their guns. I’m thinking to myself “This is some Bull…”
I let the guy go and immediately tell the cops to slow down that “I am the passenger and he won’t take me to Brooklyn”. They looked at each other and smirked then asked “Where’s your witnesses?” “She ran off after this nut jumped out like he wanted to hurt someone with a tire iron in his hand” I said. Then the taxi cab driver claimed the young lady and I had jumped into the cab while he was off duty. The male cop looks at me with one end of his monobrow raised.
Remember the other cab that lost the mirror as he passed? Well the driver was standing right there and he says ” No. He wasn’t off duty. He didn’t turn on the off duty light until his door took off my mirror!”
Meanwhile my mind is like. They (the cops) immediately came at me like I did something before they even knew what was going on…this is really some Bull…
We eventually got back to Brooklyn and I eventually got another car. Cabs didn’t seem to work out too tough for me.
Its now 1995 and I am returning from a concert at the Jackie Robinson estate. Great show. Max Roach, Mark Ledford and one of the Debarges (I want to say El…) Ran into an old childhood neighbor and met the fantastic Mrs. Jackie Robinson (one of the most gracious and down to earth humans you could possibly meet). But I digress. The concert is over and I’m now crossing a bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn. I get pulled over. Speeding he says. Get this. The police officer was parked on the bridge (I saw him as I sat at the light on the approach to the bridge). The light changes and a limo blows past all of us sitting at the light and races onto the bridge. The NYPD cop pulled out to catch the “speeder” and he nearly hits me because I was right next to him. See he had not hit his lights yet when he pulled out. Guess who got the invite to one of NYC’s ticket mills… more Bull.
Since then I have been stopped countless times. Its always some lame excuse like speeding when there was no way I could have been or “your license plate was hard to read”. I remember one night on I-95 on a trip from New Jersey to Florida I got pulled over twice. Once coming into Brunswick GA by state trooper and soon as I pulled off from them after having my car searched and pee’d on by that damn drug dog. Then literally immediately as I passed the next exit by Brunswick PD on my way out of Brunswick. Each time no ticket though it was claimed I was speeding. Meanwhile in the back of my head I think “This is some Bull…” (by the way. On the way back up north I saw what looked to be an elderly couple pulled over with what looked like grand kids having their 1980 something Delta88 searched in Maryland…. You know what I thought right?)
Jump ahead to these days. Got stopped a few more times over the license plates. I know they only want to see what am I doing driving the car that I drive (kind of unique) and upon seeing who is driving the car the tendency is to assume the worst because there is no way I can be “legit” right? This is some more bull…
Okay so clowns assume the worst and mess with me as they see fit. I walk I get stopped. I drive I get stopped. WTF?!? If I could fly maybe I should.
Now it seems this jury is trying to tell me that if some yokel rolls up on me and accosts me because he has a hair up his butt – not because I was in any way in the wrong – but because he felt I was wrong, that I could be wrong for kicking his ass? And he could get away with messing with me by claiming self defense? And it might cost me my life at that?