I have an enormous amount of respect for dedicated, honest police officers. They serve in a role that very few people can handle, where even fewer can excel. My father figure is a police officer, and he’s been supportive of me since the day I was lucky enough to be taken under his wing.
That being said, dumb cops are the worst. They give the good ones a bad name and, as I learned this week, they waste both their own time and the time of law-abiding citizens.
Let me explain. You see, Monday evening I was taking a nap. It was glorious…until I was jolted awake by what sounded like muffled screams and a pop. I shook myself and listened again, but nothing. I decided to ignore it; I have a tendency to wake up from a deep sleep and continue dreaming, complete with both visual and auditory hallucinations. Ask any number of former roommates and boyfriends who were woken from slumber to be informed of bats on the ceiling or some other fantastical ridiculousness. I got up and went about my evening, busying myself with my typical post-nap activities. About 20 minutes later, a loud knock erupted from my door. I wasn’t expecting anyone and my door has no peephole, so I thought it best to ignore it. The knock grew impatient and continued, louder and more insistent. Against my better judgment, I stormed over to the door to see what was so incredibly important. I opened it to reveal three Pittsburgh police officers. Why did they not identify themselves whilst knocking? I thought. Also, Why aren’t they saying anything?
I waited a moment, then took it upon myself to deal with the perceived problem. “Can I help you?” I asked in my most obedient citizen voice, not wishing to arouse suspicion. I hadn’t done anything, but I have always feared that someday, someone would gain access to my thoughts and I would be thrown in jail for what goes on in my brain.
The cop nearest to me, who was not quite my height but stood with a cockiness that belied his small stature, spoke up. “You in there domesticating?”
I bit my tongue. I was able to infer that he wanted to know if I was involved in a domestic dispute, but the improper use of the word “domesticating” immediately brought to mind images of wild animals being domesticated to be used as farm animals and pets. No, I’m not domesticating in here, that process takes thousands of years! Yes, I am, I have some dingoes chained up in the back room. I figured that correcting a police officer would not be the best way to start off a conversation. He already looked mad. Then Inigo Montoya’s voice joined the chorus of mocking: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
“No,” I said cautiously. “I’m in here reading a book.” The conversation continued, and played out something like this:
Cop: “So, who’s in there with you?”
Me: “I’m alone, no other people here.”
Cop: “What about a boyfriend?”
Me: Did I not just say there were no other people? So, do you mean my boyfriend of another species? A robot boyfriend, perhaps? “No, no other people. Do you want to look around?”
Cop: “NO. Did you hear anything?”
Me: “Well, I thought I heard a yell and some noise, but I had been sleeping, so it was muffled and I can’t really be sure.”
Cop: “Where did the noise come from?”
Me: “Like I said, it was muffled and I had just woken up. I couldn’t tell the direction.”
Cop: “Did it come from the left or right side of your apartment?”
Me: Left and right are directions. Did I not say I couldn’t discern any point of origin? “Like I said, I couldn’t tell where it came from.”
Cop: “Was it above you or below you?”
Me: SERIOUSLY? AM I BEING INCREDIBLY UNCLEAR? AM I SPEAKING IN RIDDLES? “LIKE I SAID, I couldn’t tell where it came from.”
Cop: “Well, isn’t this the fifth window over?”
Me: Fifth window over from where? Fifth window over on which side? Fifth window over on what floor? “Perhaps? I haven’t counted.”
Cop: “It was reported that a dispute was coming from the fifth window over.”
Me: That is an incredibly specific report. “I don’t know what to tell you. I’m by myself, I was sleeping when the noises happened, and now I’m reading a book.”
Cop: (turning to walk away, addressing the other officers) “Maybe it was the one below her.”
I was left alone to ponder the absurdity of what had just happened. No apology for accosting me, no thanks for my cooperation, not even a nod goodbye. Honestly, my greatest irritation came from the fact that after discovering that I was not the victim/culprit, they stayed to grill me for answers that I obviously could not provide. If there was a report, then someone out there was in need of their services. Why not go find them instead of standing in my doorway shouting? I left my apartment 10 minutes later to catch a bus, and the officers were outside discussing the information they had gathered, hopefully some of which was able to eventually lead to an arrest or at least the location of the individual who had been in distress. My new favorite Pittsburgh city policeman saw me exit the building and gave me a nasty look. You know, in case I was planning on domesticatin’ some more.
Then I went to kung fu and my pants ripped during practice. All in all, it was a great day.