Officer, May I Speak?

Rousted While (Mostly) Innocent

By Jeff Salter

            [Note: this incident actually happened – five years ago – and I recorded it at the time… so as to be completely accurate as to what occurred.]

The Safety Officer thoroughly eyeballed me, my truck, and presumably my Mom in the passenger seat… then drove his Patrol cruiser all the way around the parking lot and pulled in tightly behind me so I couldn’t flee the scene. I wondered if he intended to drag me away in handcuffs because I had squeezed the Charmin.

He asked if I had a handicapped sticker (since it was one of the 29% of my Kroger visits with my Mom that I actually found an empty handicapped slot to park in). I said yes we did [we hang it from the mirror] and started to explain that my Mom had already put the sticker away (in her carryall) while I was loading the groceries. But the Officer interrupted me and said, “You’re required by law to DISPLAY the sticker if you’re using the handicapped slots.”
So I started again to explain that we HAD displayed it while we were parked… but that my Mom quickly put it away while I dealt with the groceries. But he interrupted again with more bureaucratic-ese.
Then my Mom started in with her continual refrain, “I’m nearly 91 and I have old bones…”
That didn’t phase the Officer in the slightest. His retort: “I’m not far behind you, lady, and I have old bones too.”
He voiced a final reproach about keeping the sticker posted while using the slot, and then he trudged away to his cruiser.
While he was surely still in ear-shot of my Mom (who talks VERY LOUDLY since she’s nearly deaf), she waved the sticker in my face and said, “It’s a good thing he didn’t look very close at my sticker because you let it expire last month.”
I think I was the victim of ‘profiling’ today.

            What about you? Have you ever been interrupted repeatedly, to the point that you were not even allowed to explain?

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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14 Responses to Officer, May I Speak?

  1. That has happened to me a great deal in my life. It seems that I attract,(or had the misfortune to being born into a family of), people who throw their weight around, feel insecure or are just plain weak bullies who taunt me, accuse me take , as in your case, circumstantial evidence, and then get upset when I try to defend or explain myself.
    Bless your mother’s heart! Mine was just the opposite.She would have let me get it for having an expired sticker, and then after the cop left, tell me there was a new one in the glove compartment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      When I’ve seen scenes in movies or TV shows where a (relatively) innocent person is being questioned but somehow never gets to spit out that he’s innocent… or to explain the single factoid that would prove his/her innocence, I usually get impatient with the script-writers. “Come on,” i say to the screen, “all you’ve gotta do is tell them you weren’t even there.” Or whatever the situation was.
      But after remembering this true episode — where the guy refused to listen, drowned out my attempts to explain, and was intent on blasting me with his bluster — I guess I should have more sympathy for those poor folks on TV & movies.


  2. jbrayweber says:

    “What about you? Have you ever been interrupted repeatedly, to the point that you were not even allowed to explain?”

    All. The. Time. I have kids. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Oh boy. I’m glad we have a handicapped license plate on my hubby’s car so we don’t have to remember to hang it! My mom has one, too, so we usually take her car when I drive her somewhere. If we take my car I always drop her off at the door and then park. If I didn’t, I’m sure I’d meet someone like your officer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    My sister uses a hang tag too. I imagine she’d have been arrested if the officer spoke to her as he did to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That sounds incredibly frustrating. YOu would think that he could have simply been polite and explained that it needs to stay in the mirror until you leave the parking space. Some people just do not have good people skills.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I THINK this was the same safety officer — not policeman — who stood on the street arguing with my wife. She was in a loading zone, in the process of either taking stuff into or bringing stuff out of a downtown business. This guy gave her the business about “parking” in a loading zone. “I’m not parked, I’m loading,” she said, repeatedly.
      He wouldn’t listen.


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