I am a law abiding citizen. I don’t steal, murder, rape, racketeer, swindle, assault, harass, drive drunk or even over the speed limit for that matter. I did spend a night in jail once but that was only because I forgot about a $75 moving violation. My bail was set at $50 and it was refunded to me at court and my ticket fee was waived for “time served” (5 hours).
I’d like to say that I try to follow all the laws of the land because I’m a good citizen and am doing my part to help society run as smoothly as possible. Really, I’m just scared of cops.
I’ve written before about my irrational fear of uniformed police. I immediately start tensing up whenever a uniformed cop is around even though I’m not doing anything arrest-worthy (looking up police brutality videos on youtube probably doesn’t help alleviate my fear). I’ve always wondered where this fear has originated from and yesterday I think I may have come across a reason.
I was at my mom’s yesterday for a belated mother’s day get-together with my sister and she mentioned in conversation how she’s pathologically scared of police. I never knew we shared this and asked her about it. She explained that it’s been with her ever since she was a kid and probably started with the incident at the construction site.
The construction site incident! How could I forget?
When I was a kid there was a big open field and large woods right to the south of my house. When I was 11 they took the open field and some of the woods and built a bunch of four bedroom split level houses that all looked completely identical and named the neighborhood after the trees that used to stand there. While it sucked that they were getting rid of my giant open playground there were plenty of construction sites to play on while the houses were being built.
The best sites were the ones where the foundations were laid but nothing else had been built. Big cement foundations, holes and dirt piles to climb around on. My friends and I knew we weren’t supposed to be playing around there but figured as long as we weren’t breaking or stealing anything we wouldn’t get into too much trouble. We based this assumption on no information or experience.
One day my sister, a couple of friends and I were climbing around a cement block foundation and a cop car drives up to the cul-de-sac, flashes his lights and blares his siren. His siren. I thought that was something they only busted out for high speed chases and bank robberies. I can’t remember if somebody yelled “run!” or if we just ran but everybody but my friend Jake ran into the woods.
It was the perfect plan! We grew up playing in these woods. We knew every trail, fallen tree and small creek there was in there. We knew the woods like the back of our hands. These were our woods. We’d just get off the path, move in a serpentine pattern to lose the cop, pop out on the other side on Greystone Ave. and calmly walk home like nothing happened. He probably didn’t know the woods ended on Greystone Ave. Hell, he’d probably get lost in the woods because he didn’t know them like we did and would have to call for backup to get out of the woodsy labyrinth that only us clever kids knew how to navigate.
What actually happened is that we ran around the acre and a half of woods like idiots for ten minutes and emerged onto Greystone where a very irritated cop was waiting for us.
We got into the cop car and he drove us back home where he very sternly lectured us from running from the police and trying to give them fake names (my sister tried using an alias) and our dad grounded us for a very long time. It was scary as hell and I think it might have been the start of my fear of police.
Now that I know where it’s stemmed from the healing can begin. Hopefully, one day, I can commit a bunch of crimes without any irrational fear the police are going to get me.