This one will probably make more sense if you read this one and this one beforehand. It’s the conclusion of a three-part series, consisting of stuff I posted on my Facebook timeline in 2014, during my attempt at homelessness in a small suburban upper-crust community. After this one, I suppose I’ll have to “move on.” ;)
You know, I just thought of something. Did that cop have a “right” to run my record? I wasn’t doing anything illegal – I was just sleeping. I wasn’t on private property – I saw no signs. He approached and said: “What are you doing here?”
“I’m sleeping,” I replied. “Is this not a good place to sleep?”
He said nothing to answer me, but asked instead: “How long have you been on the streets?”
Now, isn’t that a rhetorical question? Who said I was “on the streets?” What does is that supposed to suggest? Here I’m noted for sleeping as far away from the streets as possible, and this guy’s assuming I’m some kind of street-huggin’ hustler, just because I live outdoors. I could feel it already — the stigma, the judgment.
So I acted a little indignant, I suppose, and I said: “I’m not a street person, sir! I’ll be getting a room next month. I’m on a fixed income, and I can’t afford to stay in hotel rooms. I’m just here till my check comes.”
“Let me see your I.D.,” he growled.
As I reached down for my wallet and handed him my California State Senior Photo I.D., he seemed uncomfortable about something. but I didn’t know what it was.
“Tonight’s your last night,” he said, looking down at my picture. “After that, move on.”
“OK,” I replied, a bit puzzled. It was ironic, too. I had finally found a clean quilt – at a church after a meeting. This was supposed to be my night to actually sleep for a change. I love the outdoors, but I somehow don’t sleep well without a blanket. It provides a sense of security – of protection, perhaps. But this one was a bright white. That was a drawback. It may have drawn him in.
Well, I’m glad he ran my record, because apparently there’s a $600 warrant out for me. Astonished, I asked him: “What for?”
“Traffic violation, Redwood City.”
Damn! I had so hoped he would have taken me to jail. I almost begged him over it. It’s supposed to rain the next two days and two nights. I’d have paid off the fine, and gotten three squares a day, and a roof over my head to boot. But he just shouted: “Take care of it!”
Then he drove off.
Pardon my naivete, peeps, but — was there any particular law I was breaking by — sleeping? Was it vagrancy? Can’t have been. Vagrancy involves the intent to commit a crime, doesn’t it Sherp? I’m curious. I would like to know.
Moreover, a “traffic violation” doesn’t fit my M.O. I haven’t driven a car since March 19, 2004. I certainly haven’t driven one in Redwood City. So – I can get that cleared – but my question remains — did that cop have a right to run my record? Do you know, Bruce? Bif? Boxcar? I’m asking you smart guys. You probably know.
Me? I’m just the local idiot savant, masochistic purveyor of laptops and Chromebooks to thugs, on pain of brutal blow to skull.
© 2014 A. Pope