Some Things

Elarryo had an SEIU meeting tonight. He called me and asked me to pick him up, so around 8:30, I packed up the kids and drove to Local 99, over on 8th and Hoover. It's not far from our house. On the way home, we stopped at the grocery store, picking up a few things from the Vons on 3rd and Vermont. I'd promised Olinga I'd get him some more strawberry ice cream. We also picked up a pumpkin and then headed north up Vermont to our house.

Just past Virgil Middle school, I noticed an LAPD squad car on one of the streets perpendicular to Vermont. We drove past and the squad car turned right, pulling behind our car. Just before the Vermont and Beverly intersection, sirens started flashing. Were they kidding? Nope. They were pulling us over. Olinga got scared, "Mommy, why are the police stopping us. Are we in trouble?"

The squad car pulled up behind us, beaming the big spotlight onto our car. Both officers stepped out, one on the passenger side and one on the drivers side.

I hadn't been speeding.
I hadn't been driving erratically.
No changing lanes without a signal.

After asking for my license, registration, and proof of insurance, the officer said that I was being stopped because I had a tail light out. Elarryo had just put groceries in the trunk while the car was on and didn't notice this. And wait, Elarryo took the car in for service on Saturday. The mechanics check stuff like that. No report of that on Saturday. The bulb must have just burned out. I tell the officer this. He says I should ask for my money back.

The first officer shines his flashlight into the car, into the backseat onto my children, takes my stuff, and then walks back to the squad car. The second officer is standing on the sidewalk next to the passengers side.

Five minutes go by.
Seven minutes. What the FUCK?
Eight minutes. This is getting ridiculous. What are they doing?

My husband is frozen. He hasn't said anything at all in all this time. He doesn't move. He looks like he's barely breathing. He's Terrence Howard. I'm Thandie Newton, pissed beyond belief and furious that my children are starting to get upset and I've been under the beam of the cop car spotlight for...nine minutes.

Officer two has been standing on the passenger side all this time. Staring at our car.
Officer one joins him on the sidewalk.
"Oh hell no, he is not writing a ticket."
Oh yes, he is writing a ticket.

As he gives me the ticket he tells me I should get a new license since mine is slightly bent.

"If I were Highway Patrol, I'd give you a ticket for that too."

I feel like a punk.

"Yes officer. Thank you. "

Really, I want to say, "Fuck you, you bitch ass motherfucker. All the crime in this city and you are giving me a ticket for a tail light that probably just burned out? Fuck you and fuck your ugly ass momma too."

My sister is an officer. She tells me how cops will pull over for any little thing, hoping you have a warrant, hoping something suspicious will give them cause to ask you to step out of your car. But, I'm sure these two cops tonight were just trying to be helpful. I guess I should be grateful to them.

After all, they just were trying to point out to me that my tail light was burned out. Right?


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