So there have been almost a hundred and fifty-two robberies all over Elyria this summer. The police have been frantically trying to find who the alleged person or persons responsible for these crimes. It's been in the papers saying what kind of steps they are taking to catch these criminals and whatnot and what they plan to do with all this.... breaking the law stuff.
Suffice to say, the police are pretty occupied. They cannot possibly be bothered by stupid little misdemeanors that misunderstandably occur within the city or have the time to issue out warnings and meaningless violations. I mean, if something really small and insignificant happened, at MOST they would just give a word of caution and inform you about the technical laws of the city. They would NEVER make a huge deal out of something so simple.
Or so I thought.
Let me set the scene: It's about three-thirty on a hot Tuesday afternoon. I am returning from the store out near the mall area and am riding my bike. I cannot ride my bike down 57 for the obvious reasons so I take the route I have taken at least fifty times before - I ride my bike through Cascade Park. Now, the hill on the West River entrance to Cascade is incedibly steep (so steep in fact, that they have a sign that insists that you walk your bike down the hill), but that has never bothered nor scared me before. So I make some safety precautions first, ie, checking for oncoming cars, looking to see if there is anything dangerous on the road, seeing if anyone is behind me, that sort of thing. So, knowing that the coast is clear, I let loose and zoom down the hill.
And then I hear sirens.
So I ride on the very belt of the road once I get to the bottom and wait for the cop to pass me. For a moment, I had a fleeting thought of just riding very fast to the ford to escape the cop because as a bike I could get thorugh but not him, but then I didn't because I thought, Why the hell would he be after me anyways? I didn't do anything wrong. So I continue to ride slowly to let him pass me, but he's still beeping and won't pass me up. So finally, I get the hint that somehow or other I'm the person he wants.
I stop my bike and he gets. He's a tall guy, about in his forties with short light almost grayign hair and wears ridiculous sunglasses like they all do. He asks for some identification. You never lie to a cop. Or, at least I would never. I was too intimidated to even think about lying to him. So I say yeah, I got this and show him my wallet. At this point I am pissed off. I am so mad that this whole thing is even taking place. What the hell!? But I remained polite with all my modest 'yes sirs' and 'no sirs' and 'of course sirs.' But in that flat-out authoritative voice that means he's not only talking business, but he's going to make you feel like shit by having his voice more riased than yours, he speaks.
Officer: Son, can you ride a bike?
Me: Yes sir.
Officer: Have you ever taken any kind of training?
Me: For my bike, sir?
Officer: Any kind of training in general.
Me: Yes sir. I suppose.
Officer: And can you learn street signs?
Me: Yes sir.
Offficer: Are you aware that there is a sign at the top of that hill that says WALK BIKE DOWN HILL?
Me: Yes sir.
Officer: Now cars are only allowed to go 10mph down that hill and you were going a hell of a lot more than that and you were straight out out-of-control.
Me: I'm sorry, sir.
Out of control? Like I've said, I've been down that hill so many times that I can say that I've mastered it. I was not out of control. Then he went on and on in that stern authoritative voice that makes you think you've done something to deserve it. He was talking about me getting hit by cars and all that other mumbo-jumbo about obeying the laws of the road, even though I was still on a bike. Then, he said
Officer: Do you realize that you can and will get two violation points on your license?
Me: No, sir.
Officer: If you get four that's a ninety day prevention on your license and if you get six that's a six month prevention.
Me: I see, sir.
Officer: Son, have you ever been to court?
Me: No, sir.
Officer: Have you ever been to a juvenile hall?
Me: No, sir.
Officer: Well, that's where you're going.
He went back to his car to do whatever cops do when they go back to their cars. This was bogus. Absolutely Bogus. Violation points I could probably wrap my head around, but even that is stretching it a little too far. But what the hell was this utter shit about going to juvenile hall? This damn cop is patronizing me! He doesn't have that kind of power nor does he know that a judge will send me to DH. I couldn't believe that I was actually there in the middle of Cascade park, cop harrassing me aout riding down a hill and threatening to send me to the DH. So I wait and begin to contemplate if I was actually going to go to court over this whole fiasco too and then he comes back.
Officer: Steffan, (he pronounced my name stef-fawn which really pissed me further), you have two choices. You can take the two violation points on your license and enjoy the long walk to juvenile hall, or you can take your bike and walk up that hill and not come back into the park for the rest of the day.
He gave me back my license and I put it back in my wallet and said
Me: Well, I guess I will take that walk up the hill then, sir.
Then, as if the situation wasn't bad enough, he looks at the bag I am holding that I bought at Target. I thought that maybe he was impressed or something that I would attempt such a daring feat while holding a fairly large bag with something breakable inside.
Officer: Son, do you have a receipt for that?
Are you kidding? Now you think that I may have stolen something too? That idea seemed so incredible. I just went to target and shoplifted and made my getaway through Cascade and that is why I was speeding becuase I was evading the other cops. But looks like the game is up! You caught me!
Now this is the funny thing. Erin Lottman checked out my purchases at Target today and she asked if I wanted my receipt. I said that receipts are pretty much useless and that I didn't think I would be returning these anyways, but she had already gone through the troubling of putting the reciept into my bag. She could have very well been the superherione that saved my day. I took out the receipt and showed it to the cop and he looked at it, then at me, then at the receipt and then gave it back to me.
Then with some further lecturing about the rules of the road and obeying the law, he saw me to the foot of the hill and I walked up it and never looked back.
What the hell!? I am still so bamboozled by the whole thing. It seems so incredible but I was just lucky enough to get the one cop in Elyria who actually enjoys picking on young kids who ride bikes down hills. I wish I could have been Blake because then I would have been stopped by the cop who hates his job and would go to great length in lecturing me about choosing a job you can see yourself in in thrity years rather than reprimanding me for my misbehavior. Oh well. Life has a way of throwing you those obscure curve balls. And heaven knows I've been getting a lot of them lately....