Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Was Cop Blocked in Rehoboth Beach!

I just got back from a week’s vacation in sunny and scenic Bethany Beach. For those of you who’ve never been, Bethany is a very pleasant little ocean community in Delaware that mostly caters to families and couples. Unlike the more socially exciting neighboring communities of Dewey Beach and Rehoboth, Bethany Beach has purposely made itself a quieter destination for people who want to avoid the massive crowds or the presence of drunken college-age students. Indeed, Bethany’s main boardwalk boasts little more than a board and a walk, and a small shopping area which could easily be covered in a few hours, if not a quick fifteen minutes.

A friend of mine had rented a beach house for a week, and several of us went down to help him populate the rooms. And though we all got along wonderfully, there were several siblings among the guests that managed to cause chaos and drama on more than one occasion. Obviously the arguments were rooted in some deep-seeded anger between the family members, and it became increasingly uncomfortable to be around them as the week advanced.

One afternoon, to avoid this type of hysteria, I decided to take a solo trip to nearby Rehoboth Beach, where I could explore the many great stores and restaurants in peace. So I hopped into my PT Cruiser convertible, put the top down, and roared down the highway toward my destination, the radio blasting some great tunes as I drove along.

But once I got into Rehoboth, I was astonished at how crowded the town was, and how few parking spaces I could actually find. The other issue was the matter of money to put into the parking meters. Apparently, they only took quarters, which I was fresh out of. So I decided to try one of the side streets to see if maybe there was any free parking I could take advantage of.

On one particular street, I passed an empty space and needed to do a U-turn if I wanted to park there. As there weren’t any other cars coming down either side of the street, I was easily able to go through the U-turn process without much difficulty. Although because of the narrowness of the street, I needed to go into reverse and forward several times before I was actually able to make the rather sharp turn. Still, there were no cars behind or in front of me, so I wasn’t under pressure to perform this maneuver with any kind of haste.

No sooner had I accomplished my task, than I saw a police car flashing its lights and coming at me from the front. Naturally, I pulled over to the side so he could pass on my left, which he did rather quickly. I also rolled down my window to ask a local resident if it was okay to park in the blank spot I’d found. Unfortunately it was not; I would need to buy a permit to park in that particular area. Crap! That would mean I would still need to find either another parking area. But as I started to pull out to continue my search, the police car that had passed me before was suddenly speeding up behind me, with his siren blaring and lights flashing.

My heart stopped, as it was clearly evident now that the cop was after me. I’m sure you can imagine the many thoughts that began flashing through my head. Had he just seen me do a U-turn on the empty side street? Were u-turns illegal in Rehoboth? Or had I done something else that was wrong? As I pulled over to the side, the cop also pulled over and stopped his car. And that’s when a second police car came roaring around the corner in front of me with his siren blaring and lights flashing. That’s also when I began feeling rather sick. What could I have possibly done to justify this kind of police attention? Was my car similar to some car that was recently in a robbery or domestic squabble?

As the police car stopped in front of me, I began to feel my world closing in. The plot of “North by Northwest” suddenly popped into my head, as I recounted how Cary Grant was mistaken for some kind of secret agent, turning his world completely upside down in a matter of minutes. And now the same thing was happening to me. I was obviously being mistaken for some kind of wanted criminal, because there was no other reason why these two police cars would need to block me in from both angles.

I began to feel in my pocket for my wallet, hoping that when they realized I wasn’t Public Enemy Number #1, they might go a little easier on me. Taking my wallet out as quickly as I could, my hands shaking as if I had Parkinson’s Disease, I extracted the license and rolled down the window to confront my fate. And that’s when something weird happened. As I glanced into my rearview mirror to watch the policeman get out of his car, I noticed that he was not running toward my car, but rather in the opposite direction. Then the other police car that had parked in front of me suddenly went into gear again, and drove past me in the direction the other cop was running.

As I sat there in my car, wondering what to do next, I noticed two college age guys standing across the street watching the whole proceedings. They each had a beer in their hand, and were no doubt wondering what was going on as much as I was. But when the cops went in the other direction, and didn’t seem to be after me at all, I simply shrugged at the two guys in bewilderment. This caused them to burst out laughing so hard, that I’m sure I must have turned a few shades of red. As I sped away down the street, I noticed them still laughing and pointing, no doubt excited that they now had a new story to share with all their drinking buddies at the next Frat party. “You should have seen this loser in a PT Cruiser the other day…” Ugh!

After that, I managed to find a parking space, and kept a rather low profile as I walked through Rehoboth. God knows I didn’t want any more trouble to contend with. That night I told the story to my housemates in Bethany, only to cause yet another brawl between the siblings who couldn’t seem to agree as to who was the better driver in their family. Instead of witnessing this rather heated exchange, I decided to go to bed. I’d had enough drama for one day.

But that’s just me. How about you? Have you ever been in a situation like this before?


Amy Lilley Designs said...

Come visit us in RI next year...BEAUTIFUL beaches...E. Matunuck...a GEM...we were there today...heaven...great cop/not cop story!!!

fwaggle said...

i was pulled over shortly after moving to indiana. some "asshole" in front of me had his high beams on, and they were excruciatingly painful.

in a fit of vengeance that's not entirely out of character (but is for the most part), and not thinking about the fantastic headlights police cars are equipped with, i flashed the bastard just as he passed me. whoops. not 30 seconds later, whoop-whoop in my rear view.

when he asked why i flashed him, i told him a slightly modified version of the truth - "it seemed like you had your highs on, i couldn't see, i wanted to get my highs on as soon as i could and i guess i might have turned them on a bit early, i'm sorry."

he could have ticketed me for it, cop or not, high beams on or not, flashing someone is a good way to cause an accident.

after checking for warrants he let me go pretty quick, and pretty grumblingly too. i think he knew he was partially in the wrong, and that he couldn't prove my story was bullshit, so he let it go. :D

Angie said...

I got my first ticket ever just last month, and I wasn't sure when I was pulled over why he would be pulling me over. So I understand the way you felt. I still don't agree with it, but he said I was following to close. I think I was from out-of-state and he needed to give a ticket that day personally.

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Wow...what an ordeal. But as for me, only once...and that happened in the Roxiticus Valley. But I'll have to leave that story for another day.

Mo said...

No cop story that matches this one.
Whenever the cops pull up behind me, I end up with a ticket!

tashabud said...

I tell, Henson, each time I come to visit your blog, you juat have been in one of your adventures in life. At least you can not say that your life is ever dull. Perhaps you'd want to take a hop over to my blog sometimes and you'll be treated with just pure delight as you read my short story in Past Live--Part 13. Just to give yourself a break from all your pretty dramatic life.

LiNTEK said...

Save by the teenagers LOL!

Henson Ray said...

amy lilley designs--Thanks for stopping by. I've actually never been to RI...or I don't think I have...maybe I passed through it time I'll actually stop and take a look around.

fwaggle--Wow. That was some quick thinking on your part. I don't know if I would have been so mentally resourceful in the same situation.

angie--there is definitely some validity in your theory regarding a ticket quota. When I lived in NYC, I knew some people who were similarly incentivized.

matt--Hmmm...I'm wondering if Roxy would want that story told, because I'm sure she must be heavily involved! Heh, heh.

mo--Thankfully I've never gotten a ticket yet. Well, maybe a parking ticket...but those aren't so traumatic.

tashabud--yes, life can have its drama sometimes. But it only makes you appreciate the good times even more. Or something like that.

lintek--thanks for stopping by.

Connie said...

Nothing like that has happened to me....yet. My life is full of mayhem so who knows? Loving your blog and your humor.