Ironic Police Interaction

Ironic Police Interaction

A weird thing happened as I left the theater after performing tonight. It was just after midnight, and as I walked to my car I heard what I thought might be gunshots coming from up the Fremont hill. Whatever it was, it was definitely loud enough to echo clearly off of Queen Anne Hill. Being the tech dork that I am, I know that the Seattle Police Department has a pretty good twitter feed. Maybe there will be a tweet on their feed that says if something is happening in an area I usually drive home through. I’d be more than happy to take a detour and stay away from gunfire. So, I planned to check my phone when I got to my car.

My parking space is my favorite near the theater. It is a location that parking is only legal at from 7PM to 7AM. Since call time for an 8 o’clock show is at 7 it is perfect. So, at this time, my 18 year old car has been sitting at this spot for just over 5 hours.

I get to my car and turn it on before looking at my twitter feed. No lights yet. No seat belt yet. Heck, the parking brake is still on. I just need it to defrost while I’m looking at my phone to see if those were gunshots and if so where at. As I’m looking up the twitter feed, there’s no posts newer than a day. Not very helpful. So I try a few keyword searches like “seattle gunshots” to see if I can find anything.

As I’m looking to find information, a bright light shines in my car. I look over my shoulder and see that it is a police officer. He has no lights on or siren, so I had no idea he was in the lane next to me. So, I turn on my lights. I buckle my seat belt. Before I can get the parking brake off he gets a chance to pull up to the side of my car and rolls down his window. Like most modern cars his is an automatic window. My car has the old school manual crank to roll it down. This was a silly thing that I noticed at the time.

I said nothing. I figured the police officer was going to say something to me. I was not wrong. “You can’t stop here. I need to get through for [a call]*.” I said nothing as he got passed me and the car in front of him he briefly turned on his lights to go through the intersection then they went back off again.

So, undid the parking brake and drove home. As I drove home I did see many other police vehicles coming into Fremont at the top of the hill. Two thoughts came to me as I drove.

  1. If I had stayed in the theater 5 or 10 minutes longer to talk with people he wouldn’t have anyone to talk sternly to. Would I have gotten a ticket that I’d need to contest?
  2. If he had communicated with me politely and said, “Could you please move, I need to get through quickly” things would have gone better. Well, in the short term they would have been the same because he was gone before I could get moving. In the long term though, I wouldn’t have written this post and perhaps he wouldn’t have been annoyed by me when he got to wherever he was going.
Jeff McBride fools Penn & Teller

Jeff McBride fools Penn & Teller