… you go to the hardware store looking for a tool to cut a stubborn piece of molding off a wall and the clerk offers to loan you his Sawzall.
A motorist repeatedly flashed his headlights at me as I was on the highway about to hit the town limits this afternoon. Sure enough, there was a cop lurking next to the first business around the curve.
I realized it’s been years since another driver gave me that signal. Has that particular little courtesy gone out of fashion? Or have people been scared away from it by hostile traffic cops?
Or could it be, heaven forbid, that I just drive like such an old lady that fellow drivers no longer feel the need to warn me about speed traps?
The local police chief openly admitted the other day that the job of cops is to “make money for the city.” Oh yes, and by the way, “keep people safe.”
They used to be not quite so blatant in talking about it — though of course it’s long been true.
I’ve also not been tailgated in a few years — until last week when, on two consecutive days, in the exact same spot on the highway, I ended up with somebody riding my bumper. (Where were those money-making cops right then, I wonder?)
The nice thing about tailgating is that it’s one of the rare acts of rudeness where the right response (barring getting out of the jerk’s way, which there was no room to do) is also the satisfying response: sloooowwwww waaaaaay dowwwwwn until the so-and-so realizes he’ll get where he’s going faster by backing off than by continuing to push.
Mostly, though, everybody drives like little old ladies around here. Judging by the police reports in the paper each week, those brave, heroic money-makers on the local city, state, and county payrolls specialize in out-of-towners. They’re quite enthusiastic in that regard.
In the last city election, a candidate dared ask, “Wouldn’t it be better to encourage out-of-towners to stop here because they want to stop and spend their money on restaurants, motels, and shops? Isn’t it counterproductive to stop so many of them in ways that make them never want to come back?”
Said candidate was resoundingly shouted down, accused of outrageous disloyalty, and answered by letters in the paper declaring that there were absolutely no speed traps being conducted here and how could anybody say there were?
These letters were written by the other candidate for the same office. Who promptly won the election. Meanwhile, two of our (formerly) three art/antique stores have closed down and at least one restaurant is on its last legs. Oh well. At least the crazy slumlord mayor is no longer in office. That’s something.
Politics. No matter where you are, it attracts the most interesting caliber of people.