Not a misogynist. NOT.
Look, I probably hold women to higher standards than I do men. They don't have that testosterone poisoning that we do, which makes us want to solve simple problems (e.g.: "The neighbor's dog is crapping in my yard.") with complicated or at least complicating solutions ("I'll settle his hash!" Blam! Blam! Blam! "Is that bullhorn coming from a helicopter?"). Ladies see sex, conflict, and self worth very differently, on the average, than does a man. Usually for the better.
But, boy, when you run across the dumber ones... it'll put you into a spell of the cranky mumblings that people might misinterpret to think that you're judging all women, by the actions of a few.
"Grumble mumble grumble idiot couldn't find her mumble grumble if she used both hands and called Directory Assis... grumble, mumble... "
Dumb Woman: "Officer, I'm so glad you stopped."
Me: "Well, it seemed like the thing to do; you kept following me."
DW: "I need to report a Hit and Run."
Me: [Tensing to run out and stop the perpetrator, but then stopping myself.] "Where and how long ago did it happen? You've been following me for over three blocks."
DW: "It was over at that shop? You know, across from the school?"
Me: [After waiting a second for clarification and getting none.] "Which school? There are several. What shop?"
I finally dragged out of her which shop (only by establishing what they sell).
Me: "That's a couple of miles from here. How long ago did this happen?"
DW: "Oh, it was right before I dropped Junior off at school-- say about 7:50? Don't they ring the bell at 8:00? I just know we were running late."
Me: "Ma'am, it's almost 10:30 AM, now. Why are you just now reporting a hit and run, 2.5 hours after it occurred?"
DW: "I had to get Junior to school."
Me: [Putting that aside for the moment and noticing a tightness in my jaw I hadn't noticed earlier that morning.] "So how did this happen? Wait. Let me bring you a piece of paper to draw it out for me."
After I diagrammed the parking lot on one of the sheets of typing paper I always carry on my clip board for just such exigencies, I drew a compass rose to indicate "N" in the corner, labeled the road adjacent, and handed it to her, asking her to show me how the crash occurred. She rotated the clip board around, and around, and around, and asked what the "Z" meant (seriously), and said that she couldn't make heads or tails of the diagram, and didn't know where everything was. I pointed out buildings, parking lot entrances, and streets. I may not be Michelangelo, but I've been drawing crash sketches for a large fraction of my existence on this earth, and I'm pretty competent at it.
I wondered not aloud whether this woman should be driving at all. Ever.
By doing something akin to the Sullivan/Keller exercise ("Yes! That's water, Helen!") where I took my pen and carefully outlined the articles on the sketch while she held the clipboard (that was important, apparently), I actually directed the pen in her hand to items in the parking lot to areas around the property, I got her oriented.
(Now that looks like a snark at Helen Keller. It's not. Helen Keller was one of the smartest people who ever lived. She, even with her being deaf and blind, would have understood the diagram faster, and would have conveyed to me how the crash had occurred more concisely. And, to look at the numerous dings and bits of body damage on this lady's car, would have been a better driver.)
So I established that she had gotten backed into by another car in the parking lot. She then pulled into the spot next to it, and watched the other car begin to back away. She went to great trouble to describe the car, and the kid in the back seat, and even the driver, which was helpful. I asked her the make of the car, but that was an exercise of sheerest optimism. She did, however, finally, as an afterthought, after I had asked twice whether she had it, present me with the license tag number that she had written down.
I asked her what she had done when the other car drove away.
DW: "I called my husband, of course!"
Me: "On your cell phone?"
DW: "Yes. I could still see the car driving away, and wanted to know what to do."
Me: "Where did the car go?"
DW: "Oh, it got in line to drop of the kid at the school."
Me: "The kid in the car? He goes to school here in town?"
Me: "And you saw the other car drop off the kid. How long did it take to drop a kid off and leave?"
DW: "Well, because I had to call my husband, I was about 10 places back of her, but it was busy, so I guess about 4 or 5 minutes."
Me: "Tell me again why you didn't call the police?"
DW: "Well, I didn't know what to do. And I didn't have your number."
Me: "You didn't know the number to 911?"
DW: "Well, I didn't think I should, you know..."
Me: "Ma'am, for a Hit & Run in progress, calling 911 is completely appropriate."
Sensing an accident report in my future, I asked for her driver license and insurance document. She produced a card with the name of a man she identified as her husband on it. I noticed the discrepancy between her license address and her insurance, and asked if she had moved recently.
"No, we moved 2 years ago," she said, looking at me like I was a fool for not knowing this.
"Okay, you might want to go notify the D.P.S. of your current address, so that you don't get a citation from someone," I said helpfully. Texas law requires you to notify of change of address within 30 days of moving. No, I had no intention of writing her for it, but someone might, so I thought I would just let her kn...
D.W.: [Aghast] "You're going to give me a ticket?!? I'm the victim! What did I do wrong?!?"
Me: "No, ma'am, I was just..."
D.W.: "I can't believe this! Some horrible person almost kills me, slams into me, and you want to write me a ticket!" she was warming up to the subject, so I raised my voice.
Me: "Ma'am! I am not writing you a citation for anything, here."
She immediately calmed down, and said in a self-satisfied tone, "Well I'm glad you came to your senses," she said tritely. "I'm the victim, after all. If you're not going to write me a ticket any more, may I have my stuff back," she said as she gestured toward the license and insurance card that I still held, forgotten, in my hand.
"Uh, sure. Let me just get your information written down for my report," I said, transcribing quickly. "So you now live at this address?" I referred to the address on the insurance card.
"Nooo." She was completely unable to hide her disgust at my stupidity. "That's my husband's address."
The address was only 5 miles away. "You are estranged from your husband, then?"
"No, we are divorced, for the last 5 years," she said slowly, as if to an idiot child.
"Have you remarried?" I asked. Oh, trust me. I knew it really had no bearing on anything, but I just wanted to know how much I was understanding. Or misunderstanding. Whatever.
Me: [Pondering] "So it was your ex-husband that you called while the other driver drove away, rather than calling 911."
D.W.: "Well, yes. Of course." [Surprised that I hadn't realized that from the start.]
I disengaged as fast as possible.
_ _ _
Later that day, I was typing up a report at the P.D. when Dispatch notified me that I had a "Meet Complainant" call at the P.D.
"Uh, I'm right here," I reported. "The door's unlocked."
"She says that she's been parked out front for 10 minutes but can't find anyone," the dispatcher advised. I had been working on paperwork in the office by the front door for half an hour. I opened the door and saw an older woman pensively smoking in a small sedan out front.
"Uh, show me on scene," I told Dispatch.
"There you are!" chided the older woman as she got out of her car.
"How can I help you?" I asked as I held open the front door for her to come into the P.D.
"You can tell me why you arrested my grandson today!" she announced.
"Ma'am, I haven't made an arrest today. And if I'm not mistaken, neither has any other officer with my police department today, because we've had no arrests today. What's your grandson's name?" I asked as I opened a computer browser to the public website to look up the boy's name. "How old is he?" I asked, figuring that it was possible that he wasn't even on the public site, because he was obviously a young teenager, and would be in the juvenile system.
"26," she said.
I was aghast. She went on. "I already paid his tickets with y'all last month! You shouldn't have put him in jail for them!"
"He's in jail for traffic citations?" I asked as the page came up. Yep, Mid-Sized City P.D. had arrested him for warrants issued on unpaid traffic citations out of our city an hour and a half before. Before I looked up his history, I asked if he had been to jail before.
"Oh, my word, yes. Y'all just won't leave him alone! I've had to bail him out 5 times this year. It's not his fault that he gets in trouble-- he has A.D.D."
What do you say to that? I pulled up his history, and saw that A.D.D. had caused him to be arrested for stealing, for driving with a suspended driver's license, for possessing dope, and for driving while intoxicated. Damn those bastard cops, and double-damn the greedy drug companies for charging too much for Ritalin!
I wondered why she was in such a hurry to get him out. "Does he have a job?" I asked.
"Yes!" She said as she beamed proudly. "He starts next week. As a matter of fact, yesterday we got the judge from another charge to postpone his upcoming court appearance so that he could go to work."
"But he's not working now, so..." I began, thinking to suggest that he sit out the tickets for a few days, and also thinking that she would learn that her darling grandson wouldn't just waste away to nothing if he spent a night in hoosegow for his own actions or failures to act.
"A.D.D.! I told you! It's not his fault that he can't keep a job! Plus, with you people always putting him in jail, it's hard for him to keep a job, anyway. He gets depressed," she accused.
"Well," I said, turning around from the computer, "He's never been in our system, so we don't have any information on him. I guess that he just didn't pay his tickets."
"But you put a warrant out for him!" she accused.
"No ma'am, that was the municipal court that issued the warrant, after he failed to appear," I said.
"Well, I'll pay right now for those tickets --but I could swear that I paid for them last month-- so you can let him out," she said, reaching into her purse.
"You'll need to discuss that with the municipal court clerk," I said. "But he can't get out until he's been bonded out at the jail."
"Can't you just call and have him let go?" she asked. "After all-- it's not his fault. I was the one who didn't pay his tickets."
I sat there astounded. "No, ma'am. He has to stay arrested until he posts bond to appear in court, or until a judge orders him released. Aren't you tired of bonding out a 26 year old man?"
She pursed her lips, nodded, and said, "I sure am! Why can't you just leave him alone? Can't you see that it's hard enough on him as it is?"
"I'm sure it is," I said, as I held open the door for her to leave. "Good luck ma'am. Buh bye."
_ _ _
And so on.
My whole day went like that. I had to run over to the municipal court to calm down a mother who was lambasting the court clerk who had the audacity to demand that her own 25 year old son (who was not present) honor the payment plan that he had signed to pay for his citations for driving without driver license, insurance, etc. The fact that her son had a much sought-after professional tradesman's license, a job, and a meth habit didn't seem to make her see why she shouldn't act as the sole point of contact on her little sonny boy's city court case.
I went to knock on the front door of a house where I found a three year-old playing unattended in the street. He was stopping traffic, literally. The mother complained that I was sticking my nose in where it didn't belong, and then got mad at me when I asked for her full name and date of birth, along with the child's. Hell yes, a report was going to be made.
I finished my day with a phone call from a woman who wanted advice on how to get her kid back from her ex-husband. There had been no custody agreement, because they hadn't been officially married. He wanted his car back from her before he would give her back their child. She, who didn't have a driver's license, didn't want to give him the satisfaction. He just wanted the car, she said, so that he could sell it to buy more meth before he went to prison in two weeks. He had an appointment to check himself into custody to serve his 2 year felony sentence, she said.
"Sounds like a civil issue to me," I said. "Consult a family law attorney, and get a property judgement and a custody order." I hung up as fast as I could.
_ _ _
I love women. I think womanhood is admirable, and the best people that I know are women. I love and respect my wife and my mother, among many, many wonderful ladies. I am bringing up two girls who I know will become respectable, great ladies.
But man, did I meet a BUNCH of dingbats, the other day.