Not the rock band but the men and women who dress up in cool uniforms and carry a variety of weapons and restraints on their belts. I've had a few encounters over the years (I won't talk about my road rage incident again, since I covered that in an earlier blog), almost entirely for traffic violations. Like any profession, policing has its good people and its not-so-good people. Of course the criterion I apply is whether or not they give me a ticket or arrest me. Here are some things I remember:
The Ugly Highschool Graduation Incident: A tradition at my highschool (Howard S. Billings in Chateauguay Quebec) back in the 1980s was to go to a beer hall in Montreal called the Old Munich and get liquored up, returning to a hotel room for a night of vomitting. So, I was doing my part by getting well lubricated when the police decided to raid the joint. I stumbled out onto the sidewalk where I was confronted by one of Montreal's finest. I'm not sure what he said to me, but I reached into my jacket pocket to make sure I still had the key to my hotel room and the next thing I knew I was pushed up against the wall with my arm wrenched behind my back. After a slurred explanation I was let go. Ah, good times. Goooood times.
It's a Parkway, not a Speedway: I was driving down the Ottawa River Parkway with my then girlfriend, and current wife, when I saw in my rearview mirror the flashing lights of an RCMP car behind me. After I pulled over, I tell Kate that if he gives me a ticket, I will refuse to say "Thank you." to him when he hands it over. The speed limit is (ridiculously) 60 km/hr on the Parkway and the cop, after asking me how fast I thought I was going, informs me that he clocked me doing 90 km/hr. So, he goes back to his car to write me up and comes back and hands me the ticket telling me that although he clocked me going 90, he's only fining me for going 80, saving me hundreds of dollars. Me, through gritted teeth: "Thank you, Officer." Bastard.
Over Hill, Over Dale: My in-laws used to live in rural Ontario. Once, while leaving their place after a visit, I was barrelling along a long straight country road and as I crested a hill, I saw a police car at the bottom of the hill. Despite hitting the brakes, I knew they had me dead to rights. Sure enough I got pulled over. The officer, a cute petite blonde woman (sexist I know, but she was) came to my window and asked for my papers. In typical cop fashion, she asked me if I knew what the speed limit was. I told her it was 80 km/hr. She congratulated me and asked if I knew how fast I was going. I said disengenuously "Um, 90?" She replies "Nnnnooooo." "Um, 95?" I try again. "Nnnnooooo," looking at me encouragingly. "Um, 110?" deciding it's time for the truth. "Yyyyesssss!" I thought she might hand me a big fluffy stuffed elephant for finally winning something at the carny. She kindly let me off with a warning. Sweet. She can pull me over any time.
Is that Another Dead Moose?: When driving out to Calgary in 2000, we stopped for a snooze in Wawa, Ontario (no kidding there really is town called Wawa). After our little respite, we hit the road again. I was amazed by how many moose seemed to be lying dead on the side of the road in that neck of the woods. Anyway, we had already driven a long way and had a lot further to go, so I was givin' her a bit and I rounded a corner and right there is another Mountie. I didn't even wait for him to hit the lights and come after me, I just stop right on the side of the road. I think he appreciated the gesture, because he too let me off with a warning. Just to make up for my previous sexism, I'll say he was cute, too. A real prince.
Would love to hear about any experiences you may have had with the thin blue line, or red serge line.