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Meandering thoughts of a Bay Area college student… be prepared for some bipolar vocabulary

Pulled over for the first time.

Okay, the title isn’t entirely accurate. I wasn’t pulled over… I was already parked on the curb when the police cruiser came alongside, sirens flashing.

Benson and I were going for a quick dinner at around 4:30 in the evening. We got to my car and decided to fool around a little (Not like that you dirty bastards). Benson, suddenly curious, wanted to see how it felt to sit in the driver’s seat of my Mercedes. Alright, I guess my car is a tad different from most cars; you pull a lever with your hand to release the emergency brake, the window controls are in the center, the dashboard is a bit retro… After three minutes or so with Benson in the driver’s seat, we switched places.

I turned my keys in the ignition and the engine purred to life. Then I signaled, checked my side mirror, then did the over-the-shoulder check. Holy crap, the cruiser was already there and the officer was already stepping out of his car. He looked stern. What the hell? So I rolled down my window.

(…yeah, this is just dialogue)

“Hey officer! Did we do something wrong?”

“I don’t know. What are you guys doing here?”

“We were going to get something to eat,” said Benson.

“Why are you guys parked here?” he spoke in his cool, easy-going manner that seemed to hide a bit of suspicion. So again, Benson talked.

“We just came from a math study session.”

“Really? Okay, do you guys have any form of identification on you?” Shit! I fumbled for my wallet.

“Uhh, did we do anything wrong?!” I asked again.

“Calm down. Not all officers bite.”

“Sorry, it’s just this is my first time being pulled over.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. So what’d we do wrong!?”

“Relax guys, if you didn’t do anything wrong, you got nothing to be afraid of,” he said in a pretty stern voice. Then why was I so fucking scared? So the cop grabbed both of our driver licenses and walked around the car. He responded to the dispatcher with a number. Four-something. He came back to the side where Benson was sitting.

“You ever been arrested before?”

“No.”

“Ever been pulled over before?”

“No.” (Maybe he asked those questions twice to see if I was lying?)

The officer then pointed to Benson’s bag lying at his feet.

“Mind handing me that bag?”

“Okay,” said Benson.

As the officer rummaged through his bag, he asked us those pretty scary questions that I’ve only heard them ask on Cops.

“You guys have any drugs in the car?”

“No.” 0_0

“Any illegal weapons like knives or firearms?”

“Um, no?”

“What’s this?” He pulled out a silver case from Benson. Dammit Benson, there better not be weed in there or something!

The officer flipped the case open and I let out a mental sigh of relief.

“Yeah, it’s my electronic dictionary.” replied Benson in his uber-thick Hong Kong accent.

“Ah.” He returned the bag then explained the reason for stopping.

“There’s been several vehicle thefts in this area lately and you guys are parked in an area where they’ve been known to park their stolen vehicles.” Just my fucking luck.

“Uh, would you like to see my registration?” I asked.

“Yes, that’d be good.” So I reached for it and I was pretty damn glad I know where all of this stuff is. I gave the registration to the officer and he walked off again. Benson whispered to me.

“Bao, what gun is that?”

I looked at the officer’s sidearm.

“Probably a Glock…”

“No, the one in his car.”

I looked. Holy crap, was that an M4!? Despite the circumstances, I was a bit fascinated and even more excited?

In a few minutes, he returned.

“So why are you guys parked here?” He seemed a little more relaxed and leaned like how officers lean so their head is a bit in the car. I think I saw a shadow of a smile.

“We just came back from a study session,” Benson and I stammered. His voice was still pretty stern.

“Alright. What subject?”

“Mathematics,” said Benson.

“Good stuff,” replied the officer, nodding. I had to laugh.

“No it isn’t!”

The officer laughed as well.

“Well, I’m sure it sucks now.” He looked at me. “So you’re up here from San Jose?”

“Yeah,” I breathed a bit easier. ” But I go to De Anza. Benson here goes to Foothill.”

We started talking about schools and I got to know the officer a little better, but we never got his name of all things. Turns out he also went to a community college before transferring to Arizona University. (‘It’s all different now then it was back then. Not as crowded,’ he declared with a little laugh). He gave us back our licenses and the car registration and was about leave with a “have a nice day.”

“Hey, I’m just curious,” I blurted out. He turned at me. “Is that an M4?” (Warning: this is normally the part where people like Teresa get bored and lost)

“What?”

“In your car. Is that really an M4?”

He smiled a little. “No, it’s an AR-15. Pretty similar to the M4 but not quite.”

“Wow, did you ever have to use it?” asked Benson.

“We’ve shot it in training before. But fortunately this isn’t L.A. you know. And you gotta be very conscious when you shoot that thing. You have to realize that when you fire at the bad guy, the bullet will go through the suspect, through the car behind him,go  into the house 100 yards away, and maybe into someone in there.”

“Daaaamn…”

And with that we said our goodbyes and went along our seperate ways.

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