Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Guilty of Driving with Long Hair

I got stopped by the police the other night in my new home town of Abita Springs. I was doing about five over the speed limit when the cop saw me, although when he pulled me over a few hundred yards down the road, in the dead center of the small town, he said I was doing 53 in a 35. The limit was 45 when I first saw him, and I probably was running around 50. I wasn't all that surprised to be stopped. A new (as in unfamiliar) car, with tinted windows, appears suddenly in a small town. And it's night time. I was a little surprised at what happened next, although it turned out fine.

I showed the policeman my license, registration, etc., all of which were in order. I'd even got the address on my license changed. A second cop showed up while the first was checking me out on the radio. I was told to stand between my car and his and did so. They asked me if I had any guns or knives in the car, to which I replied "No." Then they asked if they could search the car. I told them, "sure." He looked pretty completely through the automobile, spent a few moments studying my Rolaids as if they might be merely impersonating a gas relief substance.

Being stopped wasn't all that strange, but I do believe that if I'd had short hair and looked a little more respectable that they wouldn't have asked to search my car. I had been to work and had my briefcase and textbooks in the back, and when the first cop looked at the books he asked, "You go to school?" To which I replied, "I teach." I think it's also a little hard for anyone to believe that I look like I do and am actually a professor. I've never had anyone ever see my textbooks and ask if I was a teacher, so I wasn't surprised that the policeman didn't.

In the end, though, the guy told me, "Since you were cool with me I'll be cool with you and let you off with a warning." I appreciated that. At least I've never gotten a ticket for being long-haired. Or mabye it's just because I'm ugly.

1 comment:

Sphinx Ink said...

Gosh, Charles, guess Abita Springs is going to have to pass a new municipal law prohibiting DWLH (driving while long-haired)! Good thing you didn't lose your cool because some law-enforcement types will seize on the smallest hint of cockiness, arrogance, or attitude to get tough and/or mean. I hope this won't be happening to you on a regular basis...although if it does, at least their police department is small enough they'll eventually all know who you are!