Archive for June, 2019

2019/06/09

On talking to the police

First of all, here is the rule:

So that’s very clear and sensible, and everyone should know this.

On the other hand, I am utterly incapable of following this simple rule. Here is a story from last week for illustration.

Heading into Camden, Maine, on Route 90, with the family in the SUV, I came upon this dump truck going I dunno maybe 10 miles per hour, and this car following along slowly behind it, and not wanting to spend the next couple of hours slowly approaching Camden, I passed them quickly on the left, in some left-turn lane or whatever was present.

Coming back into the right lane, I noted a couple of signs on the right shoulder, one saying Speed Limit 15 When Children Are Present, and another Speed Limit 15 When Flashing, but as there were no children present and the lights on the latter sign weren’t flashing, I thought nothing much of it.

Looking for a place to park in Camden, Maine shortly after, we ended up in a dead-end corner of a parking area, and I was turning to go out when a shiny Camden Police vehicle pulled up and a young man in a uniform and mirror shades asked if we needed any help. I said no, just thought this led to the parking, and he said no, just police and fire over here, and Take Care and all.

We went the other way to the parking and parked, and as we were strolling toward the actual town the same young man pulled up again in his mirror shades, and asked if we’d mind waiting a minute, because there’d been a “report about your driving”, and someone else was coming up.

My immediate internal reaction was “Aha, I will show this young representative of the authorities that I am admirably co-operative and completely innocent of any wrongdoing”, and said of course.

In a moment a slightly older fellow, not I think in uniform and definitely not in mirror shades (maybe a Detective rather than a Patrolman? or something), pulled up in his own shiny Camden Police vehicle and said that they’d had a report that I had been overtaking vehicles and speeding in a School Zone on Route 90 outside of Camden. I said, ah, yes, I did indeed overtake a couple of slow vehicles, but that the signs had said so-and-so, and there being no children present or lights flashing, I didn’t think I’d been speeding, but that I’d be glad to pay the fine or whatever if I had been (Good Lord, amazing I didn’t offer to clean their boots while I was there).

After a bit of looking at my Driver’s License and talking on his telephone and looking at our license plate number (which apparently had been recorded wrong the first time), the older fellow said they’d just give me a warning this time. I asked if I had in fact been speeding, given the signs and all; he said “I don’t know, I wasn’t there”.

So okay.

And that was the end of my encounter with Camden’s Finest, except for numerous jokes for the rest of the vacation whenever we saw a police car.

Obviously, I completely ignored all of the advice in the very wise and useful video above. And the sad thing is that that was really perfectly okay. Because I’m a prosperous-looking white guy with a late-model SUV and a prosperous-looking half-Asian family in tow, and the odds are probably pretty strongly against the police of Camden, Maine taking advantage of my overly-talkative nature, to my disadvantage.

But for many other people, less white or less male or less prosperous and mainstream-looking, that’s not so much the case.

And that’s just wrong.

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2019/06/08

Twenty Years

Not actually twenty years, not twenty years to the day, because it was September then and today it’s only June.

But still! It was 1999 when I was first sitting by the shore in Maine, writing words in a weblog on a website, and now it’s 2019, and I’m sitting again by the shore in Maine, writing words in a weblog on a website.

Decorative image of a sunny window opening on a rough ocean shore

Which is pretty amazing in some sense.

Twenty years is a long time, a generation, time for the kids to grow up (although they still play Smash Brothers in the living room in the evening, as they started doing, what, maybe fifteen years ago), time for the backs of my hands to look a little weird in the light.

I still have lots of books with me, and am acquiring more, and if there are now lots of books contained in my “cellular telephone”, there are also lots, both used and new, scattered about the house; books that belong to the house, books that we brought from home, books that we got from Traveler, from Sherman’s Boothbay, from the Friends of the Library Used Book Store, from Sherman’s Camden, from Owl and Turtle.

(Owl and Turtle has coffee, too; mmmm, coffee!)

I haven’t written in this space much lately, for whatever reason or reasons. I’ve been playing a certain amount of Minecraft, World of Warcraft, I’ve been in Second Life just a little. I’ve been spending entirely too much time on Twitter, getting into arguments with people and/or Russian disinformation teams about the state of this beleaguered world.

One of the reasons I haven’t been writing here, I suspect, is that (as I may have said before, and I’ve certainly thought before) it seems beside the point to talk about anything but the current rather terrifying assault on freedom and justice and just plain reality coming (most obviously) from Donald Trump, but (more accurately) from who-can-tell-where, which is exactly part of the problem.

And on the other hand, who wants to talk about that all the time? I don’t feel like I have anything unusual to contribute there, except as one more voice saying Good Lord, and What Is Going On?, and Resist! which of course we should and must, somehow. Since that awful day in November 2016, I have not felt confident in predicting much of anything.

(This WordPress “Block Editor” is rather bizarre; I hope the words end up somewhere more or less where they ought to be.)

Otherwise, things continue! I have had some sort of Upper Respiratory thing going on for a couple of weeks now; at first an irritated throat and stuffy head that felt more like pollen allergy than infection, and when we got to Maine transformed into a lack of voice and occasional deep productive cough, which isn’t the most pleasant thing ever, but at least I don’t actually feel sick.

It’s been lovely here; despite predictions of rain, the rain has confined itself pretty exclusively to night, and the days have been either cool and sunny (mostly) or cool and cloudy or foggy (sometimes), all of which are scenic and relaxing.

I spent a week in Hawai’i the other week, associated with a team award at work. That was pretty neat! Although I prefer the weather here in Maine; the Hawai’ian sun was intense and unfriendly. I did basically nothing there, except the one scheduled Team Event (a snorkeling cruise, on which I snorkeled about), and a massage, and a day bumming around in Lahaina, which was great.

Gramma Jean, Mom’s Mom, and her second husband Proc (Samuel A. Procter) lived in Hawai’i for awhile, on the Big Island, and we visited them some small number of times. Staying in a Resort on Maui was rather different, much more Disneyfied, but Lahaina reminded me a little of Hilo, which is (or was, and I expect still is) a great laid-back little town, catering to the tourists but not All About the tourists.

(Gramma Jean or Gramma Jeanne? The first, I’m pretty sure, but not certain, and it’s terrifying in a way to realize how hard it would be to confirm that. Being an only child of only children can be a rather lonely thing!)

It’s Friday of the week already, which means we’re leaving tomorrow morning. I think I will play some interactive computer thing for a bit, while admiring the view out the windows. Maybe I will write a bit more here, later on.


Well, okay (smiley-face); now it’s Saturday evening, and we’re back home in the ‘burbs, all tired from the drive (even though M and also the little boy drove some too), but also all unpacked, and with having had dinner (and Good Lord, that was salty; perhaps Panera shouldn’t really be expected to understand soba noodles).

I won’t say anything in particular more, both because I am so tired and… well, mostly because I am so tired I suppose! Otherwise I could. But maybe having written here a bit, I will write here again sometime soonish, rather than hardly ever. Or not! It’s all good…

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