“Did I do anything wrong, officer?” I asked the one on my side.
“Yeah, you’re using the main street and your bike doesn't have a light. Get off the bike and go stand by the wall.”
Because my used bike doesn’t have a light I usually ride it on the pavement, this time, however, I just crossed from the middle of the street since it was empty and I was steps from home. No big deal.
I went by the wall as they came closer, asking if I'm carrying any arms or narcotics. I said no. They asked me to put my hands up and spread my legs, searched a little and found nothing. Then they asked for ID and asked me what I'm doing there and where I'm coming from. I cooperated peacefully, telling them that I live by the end of the street. The senior one took the ID and went to check it in the car while the other stayed beside me on the pavement.
I was going to tell him that it may be easier to Google me but I didn’t. And since I was all in the clear, I decided to entertain the situation a little.
“You scarred me, I don’t drive now so I don’t have to deal with laws and breaking them,” I said to the closer one, pretending to be oh-so-fragile.
At the time I put my hands in my pockets, but he told me to keep them by my side. Just to let him know that I sincerely mean no harm I put them behind my back.
“So how long have you been here?” I replied with the whole story of my journey across the U.S ending with the book I'm writing.
“What is it about?” He asked again. I told him, Dreams, the Subconscious Mind, Spirituality, and Meditation. I could see his eyes widening, probably thinking that I'm not quite the criminal they thought I might be. Then I said that I came to California after traveling to all those other places but didn't, and still don't, want to leave it.
“Why?” He asked one more time.
By that moment, I already knew I had him. I could tell he wasn’t really interrogating me or “doing his job” anymore; he was somewhat mesmerized by my storytelling so I thought I would finish it off with a knock out.
“Because it’s beautiful. If you travel around to N.Y, Chicago, Denver, Michigan, and Detroit you will know that California is a special place. The weather, the nice people (*sneakingly spreading my palm and subtly pointing it towards him), the beach! It’s really heaven. The more one sees other places the more one realizes how grateful we should be for being here,” or something poetic like that.
I could see a slight proudish smile being drawn on his face as he started nodding in agreement — while trying not to show it too much.
The other could hear our whole conversation and I could say he was equally captivated. Him too changed attitude and came saying that this street can be shady at night so this is all for safety; oh, and that I need a light for my bike.
“I’m a peaceful man,” I smilingly said.
“Yes, it’s not you, it’s others. It's night time and it's the weekend.”
Ah. That’s why you had to sneak up on some guy on a bike with your stop-and-frisk. That makes a lot of sense. As a resident of the neighbourhood I feel much safer now. Thank you, really.
He then told me he could give me a ticket but it's going to be “a pain in the butt” and that I'll have to go to court so he won't do it. But if I’ll be in the area for the next while I’d better get a light for the bike because I look very distinct and they’ll probably see me again.
Aha. I look different. Well, given that we are in the Valley and not in Venice Beach, I know I do look different, especially on the bike. Actually, since I first visited Venice earlier this year I have been telling my friend that I love it there because as soon as I step in the area I don't feel weird anymore. I seriously wonder if my ‘look’ isn't the real reason why they initially stopped me.
Finally, he handed me back my ID, and I was the one who said thank you. I frequently like to boost their egos and make them feel special as it makes everything much easier.
“Wish me luck for my book, I’ll write about you.
Good luck, but you don’t have to do that.
Oh yes I will, oh yes I will, piggy pigs. For I'm a peaceful warrior now and the pen is my only weapon. I do no harm but I take no shîte. Back to the beach where I'm celebrated and not just tolerated.
Attempting to Bridge the Gap Between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Sergeant Pepper
Attempting to Bridge the Gap Between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Officer Roberts
Attempting to Bridge the Gap Between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: The Coke Prank
A Year at the Venice Beach Drum Circle in Photos
Banged Up Abroad — My Few Days @ The Don Jail
How Scary The Power of The People Is