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Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Police Stopped Me For Blogging

"I swear officer, I'm only blogging."
When you don't have Internet access where you live, you have to become a WiFi Whore, getting it anyway you can. I spend a lot of my time in coffee shops or restaurants next to places with Wifi. But in this part of the country, things close at 9 or 10 pm and you have to look elsewhere. My favorite spot after hours is right outside the public library, which is two buildings away from the police station. This is based on a true story... but I have to add my own spices and seasonings to it. I hope you enjoy the tale about the day The Police Stopped Me For Blogging.

Several months ago, I was faced with a horrible quandary. After all the places I knew with WiFi closed, where could I go? I tried parking next to their buildings late a night when I had the urge to blog an idea that just had to come out, but no luck. They either shut their WiFi down or I couldn't get the signal outside of their building.

One of the places where I get access to the Internet is my sister's house. But she goes to bed to watch the news at 10 pm and I get kicked out. I've tried parking in front of her house in the street, where I pick up her signal perfectly, but her little dog barks and keeps them up. So, I had to search elsewhere.

Finally, it dawned on me that I go to the library during the day at times to write and they have an open network. On a cold, snowy night, I drove up to the parking lot closest to the door, opened my laptop and voila, I was on the Internet.

Now, I could go 24 hours, Vegas-style, if I had the ideas to keep me typing.

Since my discovery, I've spent countless hours in the library parking lot in the middle of the night. I chat with friends on the other side of the globe, write, tweet, all the good stuff you can do on the Internet in a normal setting - but I'm seated in the front seat of my 2005 Toyata Tacoma pickup truck.

I would stay until my laptop battery died, then go home, recharge the battery for a couple hours and go back to the library. Lately, though, my battery life has taken a turn for the worse. It dies within 15 to 30 minutes, and it doesn't make sense to go back and try to recharge it for two hours and come back for an Internet quickie.

Over the course of the first month or so, I did spent a lot of time using up my battery, which used to last for 90 minutes, and then charging it and returning to the library. One night, after my laptop went dark, I said, "Oh well, time to head home." I turned the key and my truck battery had died from listening to the radio and using the interior light. I had to walk the mile home to my house, without my truck and get my sister to jump it the next day.

About a month ago, I realized that I had bought a laptop charger several years ago to use in my truck. I had completely forgotten about it. It was in my glove box all along. But I was still in fear of burning up my truck battery - so I left the truck running. My mpg's were down to about 3.

Lately, though, I've been saving gas by using the charger for my laptop with the truck off and then running the truck for about 15 minutes every hour. I've seen the sunrise more than once, doing this on-off cycle.

For all the time I've spent in my truck, I notice night after night police cars coming from behind the library and heading over to the police station. There is a small access road that cuts behind the City Hall and library and goes to the night drop box. The police use it as a shortcut to race to their parking lot.

I've always wondered why they never stopped and checked me out, even at 3 o'clock in the morning. It's got to be weird that I'm parked here with a light on inside my truck. Maybe they can see the laptop screen, resting on the steering wheel. Maybe I don't look like I'm causing any trouble. Maybe my black truck makes me invisible.

A week ago, a white patrol car slowed down at the east entrance to the parking lot, over to my right. It paused, then turned toward me, stopping a few feet from my truck with its lights pointed directly at me.

An officer got out and slowly approached my vehicle. He had his hand on his weapon, probably following standard police procedure. I quickly closed any windows on my browser with porn on them and opened my passenger window to speak with the officer. He leaned in my car and said, "So, what's going on?"

I told him I was blogging. He had a look on his face like he had never heard of a blog, which seemed odd. He was probably in his 30's and had a short marine style haircut. He certainly must know what a blog is. Well, I was wrong.

I tried to explain to him that I write stories, some funny, some informative, some insane, some just for my own amusement. He still didn't look like he was getting it. Finally, he said, "Ok, I want you to put the laptop down and put your hands up where I can see them," and he drew his weapon.

"I don't know what this blogging thing is, but it doesn't sound right to me. You're not in a terror group are you."

Like an idiot, I said, "Yes I am."

Now, he told me to get out of the truck and put my hands on the hood. "I'm going to check you for any weapons. Do you have any drugs on you?"

"Only my meds, which are controlled substances."

Not a good answer.

"Alright buddy, let me see the pills."

"I'm telling you officer, I have severe depression and I'm bipolar. I take these every day. A psychiatrist gets them for me."

"Oh, so your psychiatrist is in on the drug thing, too."

"No, he's not. He supplies me with these through the county program for low income people."

"So what's his name?"

"Dr. Cohen. He's about 4'8" tall, that's why they call him a shrink."

No laughs.

"Officer, I'm not a terrorist. I'm just a wiseguy."

"So, you're connected with organized crime?"

"No... I write funny stories."

"How do I know they're funny?"

"Can I get my laptop and show you. I think that will clear up a lot."

"OK, get your laptop."

I opened the truck door, unplugged my laptop from the charger and told the officer, "I'll show you a couple of my funny blog posts, but you only have about 15 minutes before the battery dies."

He starts reading with a very stern face. After a couple minutes, he started to smile, slyly - almost as if he didn't want to admit that he thought any of my meanderings were funny. When he finished the first post, he asked to see another. I pulled up another post that I thought he might like. Now, he started to chortle under his breath. By the end of the post, he actually let out a laugh. Another request came from the officer for more from my blog, "Here, hold my gun."

He was enjoying the posts so much. Then, the next thing I know, the screen goes black. Sadness came over his face. He looked like a kid that had just dropped his ice cream. I told him, "Get in the truck, I can hook it to the charger."

For the next half hour, my new public servant friend howled at post after post. Then, he glanced at the clock and quickly said, "I've got to get back to chasing criminals."

I asked him if there was anything he needed from me.

"No, you seem to be harmless. No, check that sir, you are actually dangerously funny," and he laughed heartily and headed back to his police car.

I'm just glad I live in a country where blogging isn't a crime. In some places it is, like China. God Bless America and our men and women in blue. And that's my story of when the police stopped me for blogging.

June 8, 2011 Update - I was heading into the drug store just after midnight to buy cigarettes when who comes walking in next to me but the Sargent who this fictional story was centered around. He spotted me and said, "Ah, the blogger." I introduced myself to him and he said his name was Joel.

What I always do when I meet a man or woman in uniform - police, firefighter, military - is I thank them for serving. I feel that I can never do that enough. You never know when they'll get a call that there is a shooting and they have to respond, and they answer that call, no matter what.

Inside, while waiting in line, I told him I wrote a silly story about the cops stopping me for blogging. He said, "I really didn't stop you for blogging. I interrupted your blogging."

To which I responded, "Officer, when you came to my vehicle, my fingers stopped moving. You had to question me. I WAS in the act of blogging. You wanted to know what I was up to. You stopped me for blogging in public."

Fortunately, he laughed.

When I was getting ready to drive off, he came up and knocked on my window and asked about the paint on the side of my truck. I told him vandalism. We chatted for a second, then his radio went off. "Gotta run. Shooting. Take care."

I'm glad I didn't wait to thank him for serving. He got the call and ran. I went to the library parking lot and blogged. 

Related articles:
Truck vandalism story - I'm The Victim Of Another Crime - Nothing New For Me
Why you need to thank those in uniform - 365 Day Memorial Day, Find The Cost Of Freedom
I Was A Sexy Cam-Girl. Don't Be Fooled By The Pitches.

Best of My Funny Blog Posts

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1 comment:

  1. I think I can guess what parts of the story was expanded, great story. Good thing you didn't mention what you do to the Atheist and agnostics.


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