We found a parking space at a meter in front of the Bank of America on La Cienega and Pico, directly across the street from Nick's Coffee Shop. Pauly and I were once again headed to my neighborhood diner for a bite to eat and I was psyched we found a parking space so close. Yesterday we weren't so lucky, when it was pouring rain and we had to sprint down the block, dodging puddles and getting milldy drenched. This time, all we had to do was get ourselves across four lanes of traffic-- which is not difficult at all. Just look both ways, find your opportunity, and take it. As traffic slowed and the light a block away turned red, Pauly grabbed my hand and we made a run for it across Pico Blvd.
Unfortunately for us, we ran directly in front of an LAPD motorcycle cop pulling out of his own parking space in front of the diner. He let us cross before continuing down the street.
"Maybe he's gonna just look the other way" Pauly said, just as the cop pulled into the gas station fifty yards east of us, flipped a U-Turn and drove down the sidewalk, chirping his siren.
The cop hopped off his bike and asked for our IDs. Steam and rage and bile rose inside of me as I fished my drivers license out of my jeans pocket.
"Sir, your zipper is down" the cop said to Pauly, matter-of-factly before he headed back over to his bike to write us our jaywalking tickets.
I couldn't fucking believe it. Do I have like, some fucking overdraft on my karmic account? Isn't getting unceremoniously sacked from my job bad enough for one month? And now this fucking bullshit. Fucking JAYWALKING! IN LA!! Unbelievable. I was steaming so hard I couldn't even LOOK at the douchebag fuckface cop as he scribbled away on his little cop notepad so I turned and leaned against a parking meter, facing the complete opposite direction. My blood pressure rose and my heart pounded as I tried to keep myself from screaming obscenities and finding the closest sharp object available and stabbing him in the testicles. Fucking cops.
Pauly on the other hand, found this all hysterical. Between snickers and shakes of his head, he'd occasionally glare at me intently as my breathing intensified or I'd start to mutter expletives under my breath.
"This is gonna be a great blog. I can even write the ticket off as professional research."
When he finally finished writing us up, the cop decided I needed a lecture on top of the goddamn ticket. His blue eyes bore into me as he sternly spoke.
"There are 200 fatalities a year on Pico and thousands more go to the hospital. Bwah blah blah blah bwah bwah baaaa..." I gazed back at him with the dead eyes I usually reserve for my fiercest opponents as he said a whole lotta shit that was supposed to scare me. Whatever. Let me tell you, I've spent the last 29 YEARS OF MY LIFE living off of Pico Boulevard, dining on it and jaywalking across it and I'M STILL HERE GODDAMMIT!!!
The asshole douchebag cop handed both of us our tickets-- even Pauly's "I'm just a tourist" schtick wasn't working with this guy. As he rode away, I allowed my rage to finally escape.
"UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE! I mean SERIOUSLY!! Does he like, get cop bonus points for that!" I said as I stormed into the diner, tossing my sweater and my disgusted self into the brown leather booth.
"I'm not gonna talk to you if you're like this." Pauly mumbled. I could not yet see the humor in the situation the way he could.
With this type of ticket, I'd now be forced to navigate the seven levels of hell that constitute the beureacracy of morons that is the State of California. After watching Showcase have to reverse a $6000 judgement that was made against him BECAUSE OF A TYPO (no joke) and the six-month courtroom drama I endured last year trying to dismiss a ticket I got in Beverly Hills for expired tags because some minimum wage monkey at the DMV just couldn't manage the piece of data entry that involved recording my parking tickets as "PAID," thus releasing the unlawful hold on my vehicle registration and a nasty $718 fine. Try explaining THAT ONE to the L.A. Municipal Court's automated call-in system. So based on past expericenes alone, I fully expect to be sued, jailed, deported, institutionalized and fined six figures before this ticket is resolved.
Once we were seated in the diner, the blonde waitress came over to our table. It was obvious I was in distress. We held up our twin tickets and explained to her what had just happened.
"No way! That cop was just in here! That's terrible-- everyone jaywalks across Pico!" she said, before scampering off to get Pauly his iced tea and me my Diet Coke. My head sank into my hands and I let out a long sigh.
When the waitress returned she asked us for the cop's name along with our docket numbers. "We take great care of these cops. They shouldn't be ticketing our customers, especially when they can see they're coming here."
As we ate and the minutes passed, my tilt cloud gradually lifted, though Pauly still looked at me with trepidation, as if I was an escaped mental patient or a rabid caged animal or something of that ilk.
"I can tell a lot about people by how they deal with law enforcement. You crack under pressure." Pauly said, pointing a finger at my nose.
"No, that's not it at all. I thrive under pressure. This ticket is just so profoundly annoying and will be a total pain in the ass to deal with" I explained. "See this is one of those things you have to know about me Pauly. Bullshit like this happens to me and I'm a total mess. But just for ten minutes. And no one, I mean no one should be around me in those ten minutes. There should be a fucking force field around me or something when I'm like that. I tilt hard, and I get so fucking mad and I want to kill people and smash things-- but only within those ten minutes. Then it passes and I can laugh again."
Just as the words escaped my mouth, a tall, slender blonde in a cropped camouflage hoodie and tight jeans walked past our table, sucking on a cherry lollipop. Pauly's jaw dropped and he wiped a droplet of drool off his bottom lip before he turned to me and shook his head in bewliderment bordering on near-disbelief.
"God, I love this fuckin' town" he said, with a lascivious grin.
And I could laugh again.