Only nominally teaching-related, but I was lost in the Pigtown area on Saturday, looking for my friend's place right off of Washington Blvd., when I was pulled over. And I'm talking bad. I was on Lombard (right off of MLK Blvd.), looking for Washington, when the lights and sirens pulled sounded behind me, and, within one moment, I was ordered out of the car, onto the curb, with my hands behind my back and my legs straight out. It was in the middle of broad daylight, and all I could think about was whether one of my students would walk by or drive by. The doofus officers, younger than me, made me feel a bit like I was on Candid Camera, especially when they searched my car (!) and my person and said things to me like, "Well, we just don't understand it... here you are, a guy who likes to take care of himself, you have a dog, you have a baseball glove and a gym dog, and you're down here buying heroin?". I was simultaneously amused and pissed off at the suggestion; are there really a whole lot of 240-lb heroin addicts in the city?
And they kept at me for about fifteen minutes, checking out my story that I was lost and yelling at me to keep my legs straight and my back straight or they'd shove my face into the concrete. Apparently I was in the highest heroin-traffic area of the city, and they accused me of rolling a stop sign (my guess is that I was a white guy there, and they were looking for a reason to pull me over, and made that one up, because I didn't see any sort of stop sign so if I ran one I full-out ran one, didn't just "roll through" it). Eventually, I got to the point where I thought I might be arrested or ticketed or something, and my shocked bemusement turned to anger, and I began pulling out all the stops - telling them to look at the teacher sticker on my windshield, even telling them that my dad is a retired police officer. It eventually worked, but I don't think they ever believed me, even taking down my friend's name and number to "check" on my story about getting lost. They checked if I had warrants, and finally let me go, telling me that if they saw me in this neighborhood in five minutes they'd arrest me. I hightailed it out of there and made it to the Redskins game just fine, with a story to tell of a couple of farmboy officers with too much time on their hands and a high level of dumbassery.
2 years ago