I woke up super early this morning and braved the elements. My mind was running while running through the dark cold. Something made me think of the incidents below and it felt shameful, so I decided to blog about it, even though it has nothing to do with sobriety.
When I was about 18, I was driving home from my boyfriend’s house late at night. I was tired and I could feel the tires of my Probe getting stuck in the grooves along the lines of the highway. Not long into the journey, I saw flashing lights pulling me over. Shit. I thought, although I was not driving under the influence of anything.
They put me in the back of the car and told me they were going to give me some sobriety tests. “No problem.” I replied.
One cop looks back and says to the other one, “She’s fine, look at her eyes.” And with that, I was let go and told to be careful night driving.
Several years later, I was student teaching and our school went on lockdown because a 1997 white Ford Taurus robbed a store in the area and was on the run. Later that afternoon, long after the lockdown was lifted, I was heading home in my 1996 white Ford Taurus.
I noticed a cop behind me at one point. I was nervous because I was on hold with my college trying to handle some red tape of some sort. But I knew that I would be talking to them soon and distracted so I pulled into a sub. A few minutes later, I had talked to the college and so I pulled out of the sub and continued on. The cop was watching and I supposed it looked suspicious. He pulled me over, and I didn’t even know why.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Is this your vehicle?”
“Well, we are looking for a car that fits this description. We had a robbery in the area earlier.”
“No officer. That was a ’97 Taurus. THIS is a ’96.” I said with an eye roll.
I didn’t realize at the time, that the two models looked identical and when I told my hubby what happened he was flabbergasted that I mouthed off to the cop. Only I didn’t realize how snarky and naive of me that was.
But.. he let me go. I don’t even think he was irritated at my snide remark. But it was disrespectful on my part. I was probably irked to be pulled over when I was doing nothing wrong.
Two weeks ago I was rear ended. The person who did it didn’t stop when I pulled into a driveway, he/she kept going. I filed a police report. I gave my license and registration to the cop when he showed up. I didn’t have proof of insurance, but thought he could look it up.
Nope, he needed it and waited patiently while a made a few phone calls and sat on hold waiting to get my policy number. In the meantime, he ran my plates.
I didn’t realize it, but I handed him the wrong registration completely (different car entirely).
“You must not normally drive this car.” He assumed.
“Yeah, officer. That’s right. I hardly ever drive this one.” (I drive it 99% of the time).
“Well, make sure you have the correct registration next time.”
This page screams white privilege, something that some people don’t believe in, including my hubby (I’m working on it, he’s getting there– but he also grew up in downtown Detroit and was the only white kid at his elementary and was bullied horribly because of it. He also could not walk safely in his neighborhood alone. He has to untangle these cords before moving forward).
I used to not get it too, but that changed this year. I belong to a running group on Facebook and there was a horrific story that was shared.
A man, who was a well respected father and husband, went out for a morning run. A local father/son duo assumed he was running from a crime and so they took it upon themselves to shoot him dead. He just went out for exercise.
The comments shared on that stream were unreal to me. People chimed in left and right about their apprehension and issues they’ve had while running. Many, especially black men, can’t run at night or early morning, have to be careful where they run and who they run with. One dad said he only runs when his daughters can run with him so that he’s not targeted as a criminal.
Reading firsthand accounts, along with that awful story hit home with me. I didn’t get it before, but I get it now.
Now it sounds so irrelevant whenever I hear, All Lives Matter.
Of course all lives matter, but that’s like shouting, “I too have felt loss!” at a stranger’s funeral. Or it’s like demanding a fireman put his hose on MY house, because ALL houses matter, never mind that the one next to mine is burning to the ground.
This post doesn’t feel great to publish. It feels controversial and preachy. I’m not trying to preach and admit that I, myself, was very late in realizing the big picture.
But we can and will do better.