February 27th, 2005

Screw You, LAPD Ninjas! Arrr!

So let me preface this by saying that I'm a very compelling storyteller. Or so says my designated driver for the evening, who almost crashed into the LAPD on the I-5 as I worked through a narrative about dumping a vase full of flowers and water all over my boss's desk on Friday.

Okay, so this deserves some more prefacing before I get into the encounter with Officer Friendly. I spent the evening meeting some new people at a party whose theme was the ninja's superiority over the pirate. Clearly a flawed premise, but the debate itself is so dear to my heart that the party had to be a good time. The flyer said that anyone wearing a ninja costume would get in for $5, instead of the regular $10. Pirates, it said, would be charged $100.

Now, not only am I on the pirate side of the fence, but I'm also a big fan of the underdog, so there was no way I wouldn't be showing pirate pride. There was no time to come up with a costume, so I was trying to think up a pirate hand gesture I could give to show my support. Then, I remembered this picture, and I had my hook finger to do all night in the face of ninja oppression.

After the bar closed, we headed to someone's house for everyone to relax, socialize and sober up. A little after 5am, we were headed back downtown, and I was roughly at the part in my story where I said, "so I rolled my chair over in her path to intercept her and said, 'I have to tell you I've done a terrible, terrible thing.'" At this same moment in time, the driver of the car I was in was changing lanes. Also at this moment, an LAPD cruiser was roughly six inches away in the same lane. Much swerving and story interruption followed.

The next 30 seconds were spent saying things like "I think he's slowing down so he can pull you over," and "well now you just look really suspicious trying to stay behind him," and "I wonder what jail's like."

So we've all been through this, I'm sure. The police officer comes up to the window and says, "sorry to bother you this evening. I just pulled you over because you were going a little fast/one of your brake lights is out/I just want to give you some candy." Well, not in LA. This is, I shit you not, what the officer said when he came up to the window:

"What the fuck was that? Are you drunk, or just fucking stupid? Do you have a fucking driver's license?"

This is about the time the driver was pulled out of the car. When asked where he was coming from, he said we were at an Irish pub earlier in the night, but had been at a friend's house for a few hours. The cop was bemused (well, in between the moments he was irate and outright threatening), and insisted we looked like we were coming from a goth party. The driver thought it best not to mention ninjas or pirates.

I obviously wasn't thinking as clearly as the driver. When asked if I had as much to drink as the driver in a sentence that included the phrase "throw his ass in jail," I -- and this is the sort of thinking on my feet that really makes you wonder how I make it through life -- I actually said, "Well, I really don't know how much he's had." Okay, that's definitely one I wish I had back. Thankfully, the other person in the car had the wherewithal to say "I've had no more than two glasses of wine."

After a driver switch and several threats of violence which included phrases such as "would have fucking beat the shit out of you," we were allowed to leave. So I came within a few bad conversation decisions of a good, old-fashioned LAPD nightstick beatdown. I guess it's some sort of perverse initiation. I finally feel like a Los Angeles resident.