13 September 2008

on Police Cars

I said this to Liz the other night: "But it's just not fair. I want to be able to break the law whenever I can, and know that there's not some secret cop waiting there to catch me."
You've seen 'em, especially if you're around the Alamo Heights area, anywhere on 281, or you've been to Austin (who knows where else they've infiltrated): the Police Cars that could easily not be Police Cars except for the 5% lighter lettering that reads "POLICE" on the side. I think I might speak for a few people when I say that this pisses me off.
You see, I have recently acquired the use of a beautiful, red, 04 Corvette that begs to be driven over 90 mph... it's so hard not to do. Give me 281 at 6 am or midnight and I'll show you what 120 mph feels like; 306 to Wimberley and I'll show you 135, but don't tell my mom. And why not, you know? The Department of Transportation has blessed us with 8-lane, smooth-as-a-baby's-bottom highways that are virtually empty at certain times of the day, and we're supposed to not go fast? Really?
Really. Just when I've hit 92 mph I have to slam on the brakes because I've come up behind a black Dodge Charger or a silver Chevy Impala or even a beige Tahoe. Normal cars, right? There's no light bar on top, no spotlights danging off the sides, no "Police" written across the top of the trunk... so why am I slowing down? Unfortunately, these vehicles are Police Cars, and I've come to notice them only with my keen eye for "exempt" license plates.
I call them "5% Cars," because they have 5% paint on the outside and 5% police on the inside. Instead of screaming "Look at me, slow the hell down, and respect my authoritah" like the light bars and the blue & yellow paint do on the "Real" Police Cars, the 5% Cars whisper "Hey, don't look at me, because I don't have enough guts to announce that I'm a police officer, and I have to trap you with my ridiculous ride." I will slow down for you, O Police Car with Light Bar and Flashy Paint Job. But the minute I get pulled over by one of these 5% Cars I will be furious.
It's the principal that's just, well, different. Thus the makings of the quote that began this whole ordeal: I feel like I should be able to break the law when there's not a Police Car to be seen, and cease the law-breaking when there is. It's not entrapment, because they drive around in the plain of day. It's not undercover, because with perfect vision one might be able to differentiate between the 100% black paint of the car and the 95% grey paint of "Police" sprawled across the side. It's clever, it's sneaky, but most importantly, it's keeping me and others like me from being comfortable with driving fast.
I never know, now, do I? These stupid cars have instilled a fear in me that I can't seem to shake. I just can't help but wonder, as I round the corner of 281 at San Pedro at a smooth 87 mph, if they guy on my left that I'm sailing by is really an officer of the law in his blue Ford Focus, or if the gal on my right in her black Dodge Calibur is really out to get some unsuspecting dupe weaving through traffic downtown.
Let's just hope that the next 5% that tries to pull me over is an SUV, so I can outrun his undercover ass.