I would not want to be a police officer. At least not the kind who has to speak to annoying people calling to complain about their neighbors. No, not that kind, behind a desk, trying to decipher who is telling the truth, who is lying.
I’d rather go after perps in high-speed chases in the streets of L.A. And tap them in the rear bumper with my turbo-charged Hemi-powered Dodge and send their car spinning out of control. Then, I’d jump out and just shoot them. Well, not really. I’d play it by the book. But if they pointed a gun at me, I’d demonstrate the hours I spent on the range making holes in paper targets.
Back to reality.
I spoke to a police officer the other day. I told him the short version of the conflict I had with my neighbor. I’m sure it went down in the report as a “neighbor argument.”
Accurate, I’m afraid, but not quite what I would classify it as. Just as the police categorize incidents, I do as well. But try to explain how the type of communication someone uses, and the statements they yell out, differ from what most people might say in an argument. It’s not easy and I gave up trying to.
I’m talking about statements that make you say, “where did that come from?” Or, “that doesn’t make sense.” Or, “Am I talking to a rational person?”
The verbal equivalent of a furry bat winging its way past your head in broad daylight. Was that really a bat?
How do you describe a non sequitur that might denote someone not playing by the rules most “normal” people play by? Then again, I wear a bag on my head.
“No, officer, he did not yell a profanity at my wife.” The point is he yelled at my wife for no reason. And after allegedly having a gun out in broad daylight a week earlier. So, I went to find out why he felt it necessary to call out to her.
Despite the officer being nice, I can’t say there’s much for the police to do now. It’s my psychological drama to live out. I’m committed to not provoking or speaking to the neighbor. Still, the memory of it hangs over me like smoke in a German restaurant in the middle of winter where no one will crack a window to clear the air, and four Germans at a table in the corner keep looking this way and laughing.
It’s uncomfortable and I can’t wait to leave the restaurant.