Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Not a regularly scheduled broadcast.
Greetings from the world without regular internet access!
Last we talked I was still up in Montana practically with snow on the ground… Let me catch you up!
I have been getting pulled over quite a bit since I got back. Five times in five weeks seems like a lot to me. I figure you have more chance to get pulled over the more time you spend on the road right? So if I drive faster, I am on the road for a shorter amount of time, so I should get pulled over less often. Though logically sound that really isn’t the logic I was using. What I have come to the conclusion is that racial profiling is absolutely true. How did I come to that conclusion you might ask? Granted, I may have exceeded the posted speed limit at times. But I will argue that if I had been in a gray Honda I would never have gotten to have so many Socratic discussions with so many law enforcement officers.
I think the problem is that when I drive, the cops think I am black. I have for the most part been driving mid seventies General Motors Luxury vehicles. In fact I may be the only white guy left in the world driving mid seventies GM products by choice. Right, I know… I am a racist bastard… how can I say that? Well it is years and years of experience rolling these things. When I am stopped at a light and a black guy pulls up next me he often says, “That is a fine car! Is it for sale?” Where as a white dude pulls up and says, “WOW that is a big car! What kind of gas mileage does it get?” That digression was only to demonstrate that I am driving cars predominantly driven by black people… obviously blacks have more style!
(DON’T FORGET: ALL GENERALIZATIONS ARE BAD!)
Now let me tell you two stories about being pulled over in the last few weeks.
First of all, after the first three times getting pulled over in the last month, I had decided that I absolutely want to follow the speed limit! I am actually NOT trying to break any laws! Not so much because I care about laws or respect cops more than the consequences they can inflict… but I am tired of getting harassed. So I am going what I think to be the speed limit just north of Cheyenne, Wyoming. I say “think” because the Buick has sort of an open for interpretation speedometer.
For demonstration purposes only, take your finger and hold it in the air about a foot and a half in front of your head. Now shake it back and forth from right to left like you are telling a small child “NO.” That is what my speedometer does! I had been under the impression that about the middle of the shake was probably about the speed I was actually going. As it turns out, I should have taken the upper limit. Whatever… So again I am on the side of the road with a cop car behind me. Once he comes up to the window he sees that I am just a white dude with a lead foot so he takes his hand off his gun and we talk for a while… he gives me another damn ticket… blah blah blah. I go to leave… and I get this vision in my of my car not starting. (I can honestly see the future. Unfortunately it is only about a second and a half before it happens, but I really can! How else could I always win at “Egyptian Rat Screw” when I never start with any cards? It is sort of an impression that I feel with my entire body… but for real it exists.) So I touch the key and I realize that the car is not going to start. Turn it… CLICK… it doesn’t even turn over.
I get out of the car and walk back to the cop car.
“Hey, I think I may need a jump.” I say.
“No can do… we are not allowed to jump off the squad cars. Might damage the radios” he says, “I’ll call a tow truck for you.” He then drives off.
So there I am, staring at my engine compartment confused. I know for sure that my battery is not low… there is not a damn thing wrong with my car! Why the hell won’t it start! So I stand there looking at my car for a few minutes… try and start it… nothing… etc. I do this drill for about 20 minutes with no luck. (Granted the whole thing about doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results being the definition of insanity may be applicable… but watch this shit!)
After making no mechanical adjustments to a vehicle I know to be in working order, I stand in front of the Buick, look her right in the bug covered headlights and say, “Listen you bitch! Stop fucking around! We have shit to do and you throwing a tantrum out here on the highway is going to give both of us problems! START NOW or you know the consequences!” (I am paraphrasing for all the little kids that read this… but that is pretty close.)
I got in turned the key… “VROOOMMMM!!!!!!!”
Right on! Apparently Stacy was right about women! (And Machines because they are obviously the same thing.) *See Note:
Onward! With my car now started, I didn’t wait for the tow truck. Fuck that shit! I even squealed the tires leaving the side of the road! As a side note, I read the ticket while I was waiting. Apparently part of the laws I had broken was “violating the dignity of the peaceful people of the sovereign state of Wyoming.” I didn’t want to have a charge laid like that against me and not have actually done it!
Checked in there at Kirtland… Shit, I am a student again.
So, even though 4 weeks ago I was commanding an aerial armada across the skies of Afghanistan with near impunity! That I was… (INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK TO BE FILLED IN OVER BEER.) I am now undoubtedly back to being a student. No more briefing at dawn with an M-4 slung across my back for missions out to the Pakistan boarder… no… now it is plain black student name tags and the “flaming snow cone” of Air Education and Training Command. After the Afghan Army, AETC is a tough pill to swallow. Oh well, nothing to do but shut up, listen up, and try not to make a fool out of myself. Back to the bottom of the pile… again.
Oh yea! You guys are probably wondering about the second time I got pulled over after the first three. So there I was… driving a bright orange 75 Cadillac Eldorado across Louisiana. I am ABSOLUTLY not speeding. As far as I know, I am the most law abiding driver on the road! FUCK! Lights in the mirror! I pull over as well as I can without falling off into the swamp.
I get the loud speaker from the cop car. “STEP OUT OF THE CAR!”
“Dang old dang!” This is new! I have never been asked to step out of the car like this before. I look down. Damn it! I only have my socks on. I took off my shoes somewhere in the last 3 hours of driving. Disappointed at the tactical situation I have put my self in; no shoes on, surrounded by swamp, and the cops are behind me and barricaded behind their car doors… I get out. I could visibly see the disappointment on the cops’ faces. I could see the thought, “shit, a white dude in a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and only socks… he even has short hair!” go through their heads. They came out from behind their barricades looked at my license, then told me not to change lanes without using my blinker. I was free to go.
I am now at training in North Carolina.
Technically I am out here on TDY status. I am not realistically able or even supposed to set up a household here, I am expected to just live in hotels for the next however many months. Luckily I heard some good ideas from previous students in this program… Basically, I found a condo on the beach for less than the cost of staying in a hotel for the next few months. I save Uncle Sam money and get paid to live on the beach!
I have taken up surfing.
Just so you don’t all get too jealous let me tell you this. This is the first “furnished” apartment I have ever lived in. Furnished it is! Decorated as well! Unfortunately it is decorated in a style I like to call, “Un-cool Aunt.” Everything in this place is either pink or covered in flower prints. I didn’t even know you could get this many things with matching pink flowers on them! Even the light switch covers! Oh well, I can put up with that for the only thing between me and the beach is a sand dune!
One last comment: It is the most unbelievable mind fuck to go from a year living in half a shipping container in Afghanistan to drinking beer looking at the beach and surfing every day in under 6 weeks.
*NOTE: Stacy always would say mean things to helicopters to fix their mechanical problems. His infallible philosophy being: “You should treat whores like ladies and ladies like whores… they both will love you for it.” He reasonably extended this philosophy from women to aircraft and cars.
**NOTE: He did always say sweet things to 68-10776…
***NOTE: I didn’t rename Stacy because he is already a seven foot tall giant bearded helicopter mechanic former Navy Chief-Master-Chief-I-C from the mountains of Montana whose real name is already Stacy. Where could I even go with that?
****NOTE: For the female readers: If I am nice to you, please don’t assume I think you are a whore. It is best if you believe I don’t subscribe to this philosophy.