The other day, I showed up to assist one of my rooks who was handling a minor collision. As I was helping him explain the facts of life to a woman who crossed three lanes of traffic trying to make a right turn from the far left lane--a woman who hit another car that was properly in the far right turn lane and who for some reason insisted that the driver of that car was at fault--I was interrupted by a car horn that was being sounded by a guy who's stopped his car in the traffic lane. "Hey! Come here!" he yelled at us.
"I'll take this joker," I told the rook. My asshole detector was already registering. So I ambled over to see what could be important enough to summon a police officer away from an accident scene.
"I need to know how to get to the city," the guy exclaimed.
"You're in the city," I told him.
"No, I want to get to the city."
"Look around," I told him. "You're in the city. Seriously."
"No. I want to get downtown where all those tall buildings are," he explained, pointing to several tall buildings about a mile away.
"Well you probably should have turned back there and gone that way," I told him. I mean, Geez, dude...you could see them and you still can. Think about it.
"Well I didn't see the signs telling me how to get there. You need to tell me how to get there. Show some public service." His attitude indicated that he considered me to be just half a step above a moron. Whatever, idiot. At least I'm not lost. Damn, I should have let the rook deal with this guy...must...bite...tongue.
The I noticed that his seatbelt was off.
"How about if you put your seatbelt on for me," I suggested.
"Yeah, ok," he replied, making no effort to do it. "So how do I get over there?"
"Well first you start by putting your seatbelt on," I suggested again.
"Are you going to tell me or not?"
"I'll tell you right after I hand you the $50.00 ticket for not wearing your seat belt if you don't put it on right now," I told him.
He sighed and put it in. "There. happy now? Feel big? Gonna tell me now?"
"No problem," I said with a smile. "Go straight ahead to that next light. Take the downramp that says "Airport" and after you get on it, the very next turn-around you come to will take you right downtown. Just follow the signs."
"Thanks for nothing!" he yelled as he drove off.
The rook came over. "Gee, Sarge, why'd you take all that from him? He was an asshole."
I just turned and smiled. "Yeah, he was. And he'll have some time to reflect on that once he goes down that ramp." We both looked and could just make out his little car going down the ramp I'd directed him to...the one for the airport connector--The airport connector that has no exits and no opportunities to turn around until one reaches the airport itself, seventeen miles later.
"I guess I forgot to tell him that the first turn-around that he's going to come to is seventeen miles away. If he follows the signs there, they'll direct him to drive seventeen miles back here and with any luck he'll see the signs for the downtown exit. Allowing for afternoon traffic and airport congestion, I figure he'll be just about back here again in about an hour or so.
The rook laughed. "Damn, Sarge. That's just wrong."
"No, Son...That's what we call a learning experience. With any luck, he'll learn something from this. And if he does, that'll be my good deed for the day."
Stripes or not, I still enjoy this job.
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