So, Friday, I'm sitting in the crip spot at a Starbucks. I've just pulled in and before I get some coffee, I decide to read my voicemail. In the rearview mirror, I see a swarm of motorcycle cops pull in and dismount. Next thing I know, there's a knock on the window. I jump. The cop motions for me to wind the window down. I do. He begins to say something, but then falters. I'm scurrying around in the car pulling out the legitimizing papers. He stops me; he can see the wheelchair, the placard, and that seems to be enough.
He gives me a scolding, nonetheless. If I had hung my placard from the mirror instead of stuffing it down a crack in the dashboard, he wouldn't have had to come over. I apologize profusely and try to explain that the hanging placard thing and the lifting the wheelchair in and out of the car thing aren't compatible. (I don't manage to get this far, but the problem is that if I hang the placard before you get out of the car, I end up knocking it onto the floor when I lift the chair out. My rearview mirror is destroyed; I bash it everytime, in and/or out. I can't hang it once I have got out of the car. I don't want to hang it once I have got the pieces of the chair out of the car because too often this is an into oncoming traffic endeavour. .... etc., etc.)
He stops me again. Where am I from? Surprised by the sharpness of his tone, I stutter: Britain. I'm freaked out because I am not carrying my green card with me. I'm a brown face, and now I have no proof that I am a legal brown face (you're supposed to carry your card with you at all times, but I never do: I lose my wallet and stuff all the time. Replacing a green card would be murder). He laughs. His partner (the one in there with the bald head) is a Limey; he's equally as incomprehensible. His partner, it turns, out is from about 35 miles away from where my family lives.
All is well. He goes in to join his mates; I sit back and resume my voice mail. Then, a stonking great black truck comes up and parks next to me in the no-park-diagonal lines bit. I glare at him, knowing that any minute the cops are going to come out and ticket him. But the cops don't come. I wait and I wait. Should I go and tell them? What if he leaves while I am in there? I wait a little longer. I don't want to be telling tales. Now what? The truck leaves; the cops roll on by.