Convo With the PoPo

popo1We took the family to a parade today.  When we arrived, it was colder than we thought so I took Liliana to the car to add more layers.  We were parked around the corner from our house, so Milton drove home to get my coat and a blanket for Maximus.  Maximus and Nana stayed and watched the parade.  While I waited for him to return, I decided to chat with the police officer that was directing traffic.

I’ll admit, I’ve had very little interactions with police officers.  I’ve had one speeding ticket and that’s really about all.

But, with all that is happening right now with black men being killed (i.e. Eric Garner and Mike Brown) I figured there was no time like today to talk to one.

As I walked up to him, he made a funny comment about Liliana’s legs in her baby carrier.  I told him I had a question to ask him.  I said, “What are your feelings with everything happening in today’s society with the police?” His expression was priceless. I listened to him give his viewpoint on everything, including how to start change.  It wasn’t a time for me to agree or disagree with him (which I did both), but a time to hear his view from his experiences.  He didn’t sugar coat his answers and you could tell he was still uncertain about some things.

Our conversation ended toward the time Milton pulled back up in his car.  At the end of the parade when Nana, Maximus and everyone was were walking back to the car, I introduced him to the family.  He gave Nana a hug and Maximus a high five and a sticker.

I know I didn’t solve all of the world’s problems with that one interaction.  However, I do know that I took one step toward improving relationships.  I know that I started exposing my toddler son to the police.  I know my mother-in-law who screams at the tv while watching CNN appreciated his small gesture.  I know that many police officers are friendly and approachable.

Change starts one person, one conversation at a time.popo2

It Wasn’t a Dream

It Wasn’t a Dream

Aug10-3It was around midnight Saturday night and I dreamed that I heard police cars and fire engines.  As I awoke from my slumber, I heard a voice outside the door that said, “Get back in the apartment”.  I went to look outside my boyfriend’s place and saw two police men squatted just below his door. A couple of second later, they ran to the left.

I went and woke my boyfriend up and said something was going on outside.  As soon as I spoke, there was a loud boom and voices of the police saying “put your hands up, put your hands up”!  By now I was scared and unsure of the chaos happening. My boyfriend told me to go lay down in the bathtub.  At first I didn’t feel a need, but after the second loud boom I knew that was the best place for me to be.

He called 911 and we were told that 15-20 SWAT were in the area and that there was also a fire.  We were told to stay put.  The tech guy/gal in us both had us surfing the internet on our phones looking at the websites of local tv channels in his city for information.

Long story short – couple gets in an argument at Mexican restaurant a block down the road. Girlfriend calls police.  Boyfriend walks to their apartment.  When police arrive, he refuses to come out and shoots a shotgun at the police.  SWAT is called in.  Boyfriend decides to set the apartment on fire.  The apartment explodes (reason for the boom sounds).  The guy then runs out of his apartment (reason for police saying put your hands up) with burns and jumps into the pond in front of my boyfriend’s apartment.  The guy doesn’t resurface for 5-7 minutes and they soon realize he drowned.

All of this happened just feet where I should have been sleeping. This wasn’t a dream or an action movie, it was my reality.  (I could make that up if I tried.)  I realized two things – 1) you never know how your life can end up, so appreciate each moment and 2) my boyfriend genuinely cares about me.  I thought about the recent baseball clip where the guy runs to avoid a baseball coming his way and it hits his girlfriend.  My boyfriend did the opposite and looked after my safety before looking after his own.

I definitely mourn for the girlfriend of the guy that drowned but further value the things and people in my life.  Here’s a link of the video coverage.

M.Y. August 2010

Whole Foods Drama

Whole Foods Drama

July10-3I had just left Whole Foods with a bag full of tilapia, chicken and asparagus.  I am a regular there.  At least twice a week my face graces their aisles.  While competing, I frequent the seafood and chicken section.  When not competing, I love their turkey meatloaf, salmons burgers and health(ier) desserts.

This was a typical visit for me.   I had a friendly conversation with workers, walked through the Prepared Foods section, just to intake the smell of what they were cooking, and then checked out in the Express Lane.  I walked out of the store to the bright sun.

And then a police car pulled up in front of me.  I didn’t think I had any unpaid speeding tickets.  I don’t owe anybody child support.  I decided to mind my own business and kept moving.  I looked to my left and noticed another police car.  This was all pretty odd for St. Matthews.  I saw a man in a striped shirt talking on a cell phone standing directly to my right.  As I kept walking, the police officer walked up to the guy, and he took off running full speed.

By now, I’m halfway from the store and the location of my car in the parking lot.  The guy runs right past me as the police try to catch him.  But he was too fast.  Several other men in the parking lot start trying to chase him as well.  Although my track skills are pretty impressive, I knew I wasn’t about to test them out on Joe Blow whom I don’t know.

But I had a dilemma.  I didn’t know how this situation was going to turn out.  I didn’t know if the guy had a weapon.  Should I keep moving and run to my car or should I run back into the store?   When you’re in a situation like that, you really don’t’ have time to rationalize each option – you just act.  I stooped down and ran to my car.  In the process I saw an elderly lady with her grocery cart and I pointed at the chaos and suggested she take cover.

I knew the situation was under control when I looked (from my rearview mirror) toward the Whole Foods and groups of people were standing outside watching the drama.  Obviously the threat was at a minimum.  As I drove off, I found they finally caught the guy close to the Taco Bell.  I have no idea why the police approached him and had no interest in staying around to discover why.   I went to Whole Foods for tilapia, but left with an increased heart rate and the knowledge that although the po-po may be slow, they will track you down!

M.Y. July 2010

I Got Tore Up and the Police Came

“I Got Tore Up and the Police Came”

I hate to admit it, but for the first time in my life I got tore up. As they say, “When in Mexico, do as the Mexicans do!”  It happened the day before I left, which didn’t make for a comfortable airplane ride home.  After a couple of days back here, I still felt bad so I decided to go to the doctor.  He looked at me and said, “Would you do it again?” I told him I’d do it in a heartbeat.  I then told him about being in the jungle and gliding down the chords hundreds of feet in the air on the canopy tour.  He looked closer at the bites that tore up my legs, arms and back. They itched profusely! He said, “I don’t know what exactly bit you, but it tore you up pretty good!”  He gave me some steroids and antibiotics and I was on my way.  (-;

I was thinking happy thoughts in the taxi ride on the way to the airport to come home.  Suddenly there are flashing lights and the driver pulls over. “La policia?” I ask.  “Si” says Mr. Taxi Driver.  Supposedly my guy had been trying to get rid of me a little bit too fast and was pulled over for speeding.  He pulls out his driver’s license for the cops.  Wow, his license was so faded.  You know when your child brings home a picture colored with markers that was wet in the rain?  It’s smeared beyond belief and all you see are blended colors?  Well, this was my guy’s license.  The cop looked at the license in disbelief and then went to his car to run a check.  When he returns he tells my driver that his license expired last year and he needs to step out of the car.

ARE YOU SERIOUS?  I just had a wonderful vacation and now I’m five minutes away from being featured on Spanish Cops. “Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do?” Where are Will Smith and Martin Lawrence when you need them? I started to get anxious. What would happen if he was arrested?  I didn’t want to miss my flight.  Should I hop out and try to get another taxi?  I thought about taking a picture of the situation.  Yeah, never mind, that’s not a good idea.  My driver left the car running with the keys in the ignition.  For a brief second I thought about driving myself to the airport. Luckily Yeager Ranger had a reality check: 1. I don’t know where I’m going.  2. Duh, the police are right behind me.

Mr. Taxi Driver returned about 10 minutes later with a rather lengthy speeding ticket.  He seemed embarrassed so I didn’t say much about it.  We arrived at the airport in plenty of time and the rest is history!!!

M.Y. October 2007