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Friday, October 21, 2005

A little comic relief - embarassing moments!

I just thought that with all the heavy topics lately (and perhaps in general) that it's time for a little story about personal embarassment. As much as I would love to display the embarassing moments of others, it would be somewhat uncharitable, so it's best that I just reveal my own.

When I began college as a freshman, I was very much driven in the world of law enforcement. As such, I became a Police Reserve Officer in my college town. It is a volunteer position and encompasses handling "events" like dances and the summer festival, and the occasional ride along. Most of the Reserves in the town were college students/aspiring Police Officers like myself.

When I was "hired", the Sergeant who oversaw the group and actually founded it, gave me a very stern lecture...the kind given to every new Reserve. He told me that the uniform is an official uniform and when wearing it we were to conduct ourselves in a very professional manner as we were representatives of the city...etc. I took this very seriously as this was, so I thought, my future career, and maybe my future department. Not a time to make a mess of things.

Anyway, I did not know the town well and as it was developed along a river, there was no real "grid system". So I knew one route to the station, and was at a loss when it was closed for construction on a Thursday night. I was on my way to my first ride along.

So I took an alternate route, following another vehicle which also seemed destined for the downtown area. When we arrived at a particular street, I recognized the name so realized I should turn at that point.

I had a green light, and in my distraction and a little nervousness at my first uniformed ride along, I was not entirely an attentive driver.

You see where I'm going with this.

Of course, there was another car coming in the oncoming lane. Of course, in my distraction I had turned in front of them and recognized this too late for either of us to avoid the resultant collision.

After impact, I sat in my car, facing oncoming traffic on the street I was turning onto..and gripping the steering wheel in a panic, I repeated "OH *@& Oh *&& !" while remembering the speech from the Sergeant. Of course, I realized that this reaction was unproductive.

I kind of wished the accident had killed me so that I would not have to face the consequences of this disaster.

But I got out and learned that the other parties were ok and that I was not responsible for their deaths..only for thier wrecked car. Which, as it turned out, was a borrowed car.

So there I was, very conscious of my "POLICE" uniform, and I walked across the street to the nearest house with lights on and I knocked at the door. Two children arrived first and through the big glass window they cheered upon seeing a Uniform at their door.

The smiling man of the house answered the door and grinned even more widely when he saw the travesty on his corner.

I explained that we'd had an accident and needed to call the police. He grinned more widely and invited me in. I stood uncomfortably in the doorway of his foyer as he dialed 911 and reported the accident. He joked with the dispatcher, suggesting that since I was a Reserve, "Who ever comes should cuff her!"

When he hung up he asked me what had happened. I told him, "I was making a left turn..and I got hit."

He smiled knowingly and probed, "Was it your fault?"

I hung my head. "Well...yeah." What else was there to say?

He laughed and wished me well. I found out later on that he was pretty much the biggest defense attorney in town.

So I went back across the street to meet the officer who had already arrived. He was gathering the info from the other driver and directed me to pull out my own information. I went into my glove box for the insurance card, and when I approached him again, he told me to have a seat in the squad.

I was still in somewhat of a fog, and for some reason, even knowing better, I became convinced that I was being I approached the rear seat. I did not deserve to sit in the front, uniform or no uniform.

He actually stopped me and directed me to the front.

So in my fog, I obeyed and spent a few moments inspecting my swollen and bleeding knee. I felt like an ass.

He joined me and took my information from me. As he wrote up whatever he was writing up, I stared at my beloved first car, the car I washed inside and out if it had a speck. The car that represented my independence. The car that enabled me to go to work so I could pay for school, and drive to the police station for experience in order to be successful. My poor, sweet, ugly, wrecked car.

I asked him if he could recommend a shop to bring it to. I didn't know what to do.

He told me they had to impound it due to the location--had to get it off the street, but advised me to move it ASAP so as to prevent major storage charges.

I asked him then for a ride to the station for my shift.

He kind of chuckles and said, "Yeah, I guess you'll need one!"

Then, after a pause, and not looking at me, he said quietly,

" were assigned to ride with me tonight..."

I actually thought I might die right then and there. What are the odds of this? A town full of perfectly good police officers, and here I was with the one to respond to my disaster.

But he went on,

"...and the worst part of it is..."

YIKES! There was a WORST part? You mean we hadn't experienced that yet!?

"...I have to write you a ticket."

Now, please understand, this officer was actually one of the nicest gentleman one could ever meet. He sincerely felt bad about all of this, and told me that if I didn't want to ride with him he would understand. He would just ask the Sergeant (our Reserve Sergeant was the shift commander that night) to reassign me to someone else.

I did agree to ride with him because, of course, it wasn't personal. I could see that he felt bad and I could not deny that I was the cause of the whole thing, anyway.

That Christmas, at our yearly dinner, the new Reserves were introduced to the "old", and I had the great noteriety of being "The only Reserve to total her car on the way in to work!" I believe I still hold that dubious title.

Anyone else have a story to share? Any 3 of you who stop by on occasion?

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