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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want all to thrive in

Friday, August 20, 2004

unwelcoming the rnc (un-rnc): entering manhattan, friday afternoon

i had deliveries in new rochelle & jackson heights today - which means i drove into manhattan from queens over the 3rd ave bridge which spilled me onto 116th st. the streets in manhattan run east & west, the avenues run north & south. i drove about 5 blocks into manhattan when i noticed a shiney new black suv tailing me - trouble! he pulled out over the double yellow line as if he was going to pass me in the middle of a busy, bumpy nyc 4 lane road which is really a 2 lane road in manhattan - there are always trucks & cars double parked or buses stopped in the middle of the lane. then he pulled back behind me & i noticed him attempt to go into the right-hand lane, but too many double parked cars to pass me. i pulled around the double-parked car so he could pass legally on the left, but he pulled behind me - double trouble.
then, much to my chagrin, he pulled out again, over the double yellow line (i was in the passing lane again) & i saw this pulsating bright red light coming from the middle of his dash - way big trouble! at first i wondered what in the world he was - a cabby attracting biz? someone flashing to get thru traffic? i pulled over & stopped, watching him in my large side-view mirrors, do the same. he was a middle-aged, out-of-shape white male, dressed in jeans & a t-shirt w/a big round belly and mousey brown hair that was balding on top & hanging straight around the bottoms of his ears. he approached kinda sideways as he was reading my 'imprison bush for lying to lead us into war' side of my truck - not because he was flattening himself to avoid being hit! the first thing that comes outta his mouth is this disparaging tone was "quite a paint job you got there". 'sure is quite a paint job' i'm agreeable. then he demands to see my license, registration, & insurance card.
i looked at him, knowing of he had to be a cop but incensed that he could walk up to me, plainclothes, not identify himself, no police car, no badge, no howdy ma'am - just 'license, registration, & insurance card'. "who the hell are you?" i demand in an equally (i hope) authoritative voice.
he looks a little startled & says 'new york city detective' as he points to some medal hanging around his neck. i should have looked at it more closely, asked his name & written down that & his badge number. shoulda but didn't. i pull out my driver's license, reach over to find my registration, which he first accuses me of riding around on a temporary reg for almost a year (i'm due in november!). i ask for the registration back, declaring it was NOT temporary, as i continue to dig for my current insurance card. i find about 23 insurance cards, but none w/a current date - the latest ended march 2004. i go to look again in my glove compartment when i notice yet another white male leaning against the passenger side of my truck giving me the cold, steel evil eye. this one is younger & shorter w/lots more hair - sandy and thick w/face hair as well. i ask the detective 'who is leaning against my truck?' and he snorts & says 'i never travel along'. okay, that says it all.
'do you want to know why i pulled you over' he asks. i just raised my eyebrows & scrunched up a corner of my mouth like 'what do you think, i'm stupid?' but didn't say anything. this plain clothes white male detective tells me that i made an illegal lane change back a few blocks. illegal lane change - this, in new york city. ufb.
as the two cops headed back to their black suv, a man with a friendly face & concerned demeaner materialized at my passenger window. i leaned over & rolled down the window. he introduced himself, saying he works with rev. sharpton - i was so excited & told him i had to shake his hand & what a hell of a speech al sharpton made in boston! he told me that he'd noticed the police tailing me so he was tailing them - he saw the whole thing. he told me to get the officer's name & badge number and heartily agreed w/me, those men stopped me because of my political message on my truck.
as the police again approached my truck, my friend slipped away & i rolled the window back up on the sandy creasture. the detective hands me back my info letting me know he's going to let me go this time but he could issue me three citations if he felt like it. i looked at him feeling relieved and astounded both - what three citations might those be? the illegal lane change, not having a current insurance card, & my license plate had a wire holding it in place instead of a bolt! then he continued to threaten me, saying if he catches me driving again without fixing these things, he's going to have my vehicle impounded.
my visions of driving around during the republican convention, spreading my message to bush & the republican delegates "no matter what you do, we're not voting for you' suddenly froze - 'are you saying you can legally impound my vehicle?' i ask in what i hope is not a croak. 'i could impound it now but i'm giving you a break' - should i say thank you jesus here? grrrrrr. 'i have a lot of driving to do today,' i say. 'i just drove into nyc'.
'well, you can't drive w.o. your current insurance card & you need to go get these the license fixed immediately!' i almost asked him if he had an extra bolt & nut but i figured i better find my current insurance card first. i'm in mama bear mode, protecting my vision of my baby's appearances in the city, worrying about how i'm going to make my deliveries & then go all the way uptown w.o. running into those two jokers again. as my friend from al sharp's staff appears again i realize i forgot to get the officers' badges & names. i swing out my door but they are out of site. he advised me to go around the corner to the 38th precinct & report what just happened. which i did! more later...