Wednesday, May 25, 2005

My Friday Night

When I left work on Friday, I was following my normal routine. I IM'd Chrissy to let her know I was on my way. I go up K Street, over on 16th, then I call from M Street, she comes down and I pick her up. Easy, right? Well, not this Friday. When I turned on to K Street, there was a police van behind me. The lights came on, so I checked my speedometer. I wasn't speeding, so I pulled over thinking the cops would pull around me. No such luck. They pulled over behind me. Officers came out on both sides and flanked my car.

The officer on the driver's side approached and I asked (very politely) something to the effect of, "Is there a problem officer?" He stated that my tags had expired and asked if I had ever been arrested for expired tags before. Naturally, I said that no, I hadn't. I searched my glove compartment and came up with two registrations: my original that expired in 2003 and the replacement which expired in January 2005. He ran my tags, came back to the car and said that yes, they had expired. Furthermore, driving with expired tags is "an arrestable offense in the District of Columbia," so he would need me to step out of the car.

I stepped to the rear of my car where he proceeded to handcuff me, frisk me, empty my pockets and take my tie, belt and shoelaces, just on the off-chance that I would try to hang myself. He placed me in the back of the police van while his partner placed all my belongings (other than my keys, wallet, Palm and cell phone) in the trunk of my car. First she tried to put them in the glove compartment, then put them in the trunk. I realized later that they were probably using that as an excuse to check for drugs or weapons. After a short trip (mostly in the dark, before he turned on the light), I was brought in, booked and placed in a cell!

There were six cells, only the fourth of which was empty. So naturally, I was placed in cell number five with another young gentleman. Fortunately, I was left alone. There were two bunks and a commode. He was on the lower bunk, so I hopped up on the top bunk. The gentleman in cell number six was apparently none too happy. Every five minutes or so, there would issue a short string of profanities from his cell. In any case, I waited patiently for about forty-five minutes to an hour. I am guessing this because, naturally, I did not have my watch.

Finally, after signing papers for my collateral bond ($50) and my property receipt, I finally was released. This was after getting a stern lecture from my arresting officer about how serious this is and how I need to get it taken care of. Also, that if I drive my car with the expired tags and get picked up again, it will be a second arrest and I'll be taken "downtown" which is not nearly as nice as the 3rd precinct. Furthermore, I need to take care of this right away. But of course, I can't take care of it with my car, because I have expired tags. Also, I'm not supposed to leave my car parked on the street, because that's a parking violation and I'll get hit at a hundred bucks a pop. So, I can't drive my car, I can't move my car, and I can't leave it there.

Then I had to go get my property, but of course, the officer in charge was "at lunch" (at 7:30 at night). So after waiting for another 20 minutes or so with a girl who was obviously craving a fix of some sort of illegal substance in between trying to keep her top from falling down and a very nice, but very intoxicated gentleman who reeked of alcohol, I finally got my property back and was able to call Chrissy to let her know I was alive!!

In the two and a half hours or so that this all took place, Chrissy went from wondering where I was to worrying that something had happened to me, to thinking I had been shot and car-jacked and I was locked in the trunk of my car, bleeding to death. She tried calling me, calling my office, calling my co-workers, calling our Mom, her Mom, the police and anyone else she could think of. She had been talking to the police for about 10 minutes or so when I finally was able to get in touch with her. Needless to say, she was relieved.

All this was to say that I had a fairly poor Friday night. My co-worker, Jim, was helping Chrissy along the whole way and was kind enough to buy us a drink (or two in my case) and give us a ride home. Contrary to what I told the officer, I did not take care of my registration on Saturday, as the Maryland MVA only does driver's license services on Saturday. The only thing we were able to do was to drive up to my car in Chrissy's car, call AAA and have it towed to my office building. I took Chrissy to New Carrollton Metro Monday morning in her car and headed over to the MVA. I got an extension for my vehicle emissions and renewed my registration. Yaayy!! Aye yi yi....

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