I had commuted a long way to the industrial part of town for a job interview. It was made up of glamorous freeway underpasses, dazzling cement as far as the eye can see and rusting machinery and run down factory buildings beckoning this young lady with a ‘come hither look’. I dressed well, if I do say so myself. Wore a dress, Mary Janes, makeup- the whole shebang. I took more than my usual 10 minute routine for this event and I was rewarded. Not how I would have expected though.
I finished the interview and am walking back to the bus stop. The closest is about a 10 minute walk. Construction is going on and there is a foreboding white and red sign on the stop’s pole. Indeed, the stop is closed and it tells me arbitrary street names as if I’m supposed to have GPS in my brain. On the ride there I noticed the bus went straight down the same street straight for several blocks so I figured I would walk down to the next one. I set out on my walk. I’ve learned that street blocks become longer and more desolate in industrial wastelands. There weren’t any turnoffs and no sidewalk really, so I walk off the street separated by a ‘cement fence’ (a precaution I took despite the lack of dangerous traffic). I stop and look at some cool graffiti on the building along the street. The side bar is getting smaller and smaller so I straddle the fence, which is no easy task in a dress might I add, and hop the rest of the way over. I walk a few feet and in the distance I can see car coming towards me, it morphs into a cop car. At the back of my mind I recall passing sign nailed down that said:
NO UNAUTHORIZED MOTOR VEHICLES, MOTOR BIKES, MOPEDS, ETC.
VIOLATORS SHALL BE PROSECUTED PURSUANT TO THE PENAL LAW.
I hadn’t really registered that I was doing something wrong. I still kind of figured he’d have more important things to do than hunt me down. He slows down and gets out of the car, I stop. He’s a middle aged man with a beer gut and a shining bald head.
He says to me, “What are you doing Miss?”
Do you know that reaction where you just want to cry? I don’t like to admit this and it doesn’t happen very often but, that was my first feeling. So I slapped my emotions upside the head and didn’t shed a tear.
Without hesitation I respond saying “I was looking for the next bus stop, the one back there was closed”.
He asks what direction I’m going and a few other things, I answer as innocently as possible and expressing my lack of knowledge that I wasn’t supposed to be walking here. He believed me, I believed me- which is good since it was the truth. He mulls over my situation, while I’m standing there sweltering in the heat, my calves are dirty from the climb over, and I’m considering if at that point I should say that I do have a star trek transporter but I just wanted to walk for kicks.
The policeman says he’ll drive me to the next bus stop. At the back of my mind there’s a part of me that feels reluctant to get in the back of any car, no matter how safe a black and white ford with bars and locks appear to be. But as the saying goes, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I got in the back of the police car. We don’t talk. My knees are practically squished up to my chin and I am surprised at the cleanliness of the back seat. Through the grates I watch his screen saver, pictures flick by of hunting, barbecues and sexy women. Classic. Thank god he didn’t have pictures of metaphysical symbols and people doing yoga- that would have completely shattered all my treasured stereotypes of policemen.
The drive doesn’t take long at all. He pulls up at the bus stop. He says “these people are going to think you’re a hardened criminal”. I laugh. He has to open the door for me and says have a good day. I apologize again and thank him.
I get out, observe the lovely 7 onlookers staring at me, walk over to benches as if this is a regular occurrence and stand at the bus stop. I surely hope they thought I was a hardened criminal.