Friday, August 22, 2003

I'd have posted earlier; unfortunately there was the matter of the MISSING ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL to be looked into first. I wish I could tell you it had been positively resolved.

Brushes with the Law

One: Underage

Cops can save your butt, right? I'd never have been surprised to hear that, but it didn't really hit me for many years.

I grew up in a town whose size could be described by "smallish- to medium-sized city". It was home to a few hundred thousand people, had a discernible (though tiny) downtown area, yet was close enough to middle-of-nowhereness, evidenced by two-lane highways and thickly wooded areas, that it was possible, every year, for each high school's junior and senior classes to hold keggers in the woods come June.

I know. It's classy. High school tends to be.

My junior year of high school happened to end in the spring when area cops decided to crack down on underage drinking, and on large keg parties especially. The local paper printed stories that detailed police plans to patrol surrounding areas with methods that included circling helicopters in search of illegal teenage debauchery. Rumors of extensive arrests of minors made kids nervous, but the planners had no fear. No caution, at least.

I went to the junior keg in a two-door coupe with six other people and three tents. We drove to the designated map pick-up, where we were given barely and purposefully incomplete directions, which took us nearly there. At the last labeled spot on the map, we found the point person for final direction to the party site, a clearing about half an hour's drive into the woods one and a half hours north of town. It was a semi-well-oiled machine. Since it was the middle of June and the sun didn't set until late, the festivities kicked into full gear around 10:30, when the only illumination came from a bonfire, a few headlights and the gleams of adolescent mischief in 150 sets of eyes.

I woke in a tent the next morning not long after dawn when a friend called to me from the outside, saying the cops were there and that I needed to come out. "Yeah, right," I responded, "you're not getting me out of bed that way." Naturally, she'd been telling the truth.

The next six hours were spent being systematically sorted and questioned by the police. After determining age and BAC the cops separted the kids into two groups: those to receive MIP (minor in possession) charges, and those who would go free thanks to the generosity of the justice system. By the time it was my turn to speak with a cop, I'd swallowed a breathmint, sucked on a penny, and chewed a stick of gum, even though I knew perfectly well those mythical breathdisguisers would fail.

The cop asked for my license and examined it. "Have you been drinking?" he asked.

Strangely, I did something right: "Yes," I responded without hesitation.

He nodded, and asked whether my parents were aware of my whereabouts. I equivocated - just as I'd done when I told my mother my plans the previous day - and he picked up the breathalyzer. I blew, and waited a few seconds for a miracle to happen.

It did. I blew a 0.000.

"Let's call your home and let your parents know where you are," the officer said, friendly enough now that my sobriety had been established. I gave him the number and he called; he informed my mother that I'd been at a party in the woods, and he assured her that I hadn't been drinking.

He assured her that I hadn't been drinking.

I held my tongue. Had he forgotten my answer to his very first query? Was he just trying to give a girl a break? I'll never know.

Two: Po Po Creepin

Cops can be dimwitted fools, right? I'd never have been surprised to hear that, but it didn't really hit me for many years.

The first two years of college had two constants for me: a roommate, and a boyfriend. The former varied; the latter didn't. The problem with having both was that #1 afforded little time to be alone with #2. So whenever we wanted to talk without being overheard, my beau and I would take to one of our cars and park someplace quiet and pleasant.

Almost without fail, we would be approached by the fuzz while parked. Over the course of two years this became a running joke: apart, we were harmless, but together we emitted a signal that cops latched onto. At times, it seemed that we spent more time in threes - the two of us plus a police officer - than alone together.

Typically, the officer would approach the vehicle and shine his or her flashlight into our faces. Then our IDs were checked, and the car's registration. Then the questions.

"What are you doing here?" (talking)
"This late?" (yeah)
"Why?" (we both have roommates)
"You're sunk down awfully low in that seat." (excuse me?)
"Are you sure he's not harassing you, miss?" (this is getting ridiculous)

It was harmless, though an annoyance.

Our most irritating run-in with the police happened when we actually were driving. He'd been pulled over for failing to come to a complete stop at a four-way stop sign. (It was a deserted area in the middle of the night.) Officer 1 had taken his identification, registration and insurance card back to her car when I was startled by a tap on my window. I turned and was blinded by a second policeman's flashlight. After regaining my wits, I rolled down the window.

"What's that in the back?" officer 2 asked suspiciously. We glanced back. Several Corona boxes sat on the floor of the van. We were underage. "Oh, those are empty," my driver said. "I use them to store plastic bags."

Officer 2 narrowed his eyes. "Open it up," he said after a moment. Inconvenienced but understanding, we opened the side door and displayed the boxes of bags. The officer picked up a few, eyeing them under his bright light, and asked with deep suspicion, "Why are they tied up?" With frustration that was obvious to me, my boyfriend answered, "Because otherwise it would be a big mess."

After toying with the bags for a minute more, the cop sighed and muttered, "I suppose that's acceptable." He switched off the light and left.

Three: Picked Up

Cops can be just regular assholes in bars, right? I'd never have been surprised to hear that, but it didn't really hit me for many years.

Cop: Come here often?
Kate: Actually, I just turned 21 a few minutes ago.
Cop: Ahhh. I might have to turn my watch back and arrest you for underage drinking, just to get you into my patrol car.

Which one's the LIE?


Because I'm a poser anyway (see above), telling lies is really just more of the same. Yeah, I know you think I'm some kind of beautiful, intelligent sexpot, but that's just part of my cunning plan to, well, get you to think I'm some kind of beautiful, intelligent sexpot. Deception is all in a day's work here on the blog.

It's this truth bit that worries me, quite frankly. That requires me actually to be interesting, not just to sound interesting - and I have enough trouble with the latter.

So when the obfuscatory post is published in a couple of hours (because I didn't plan ahead, or rather I did but instead of thinking of stories last night I went out and danced harder than I have in ages and came home at 3 a.m. completely knackered, so I've got to come up with ideas now), try to be a little forgiving. I'm not one of those who can say, "I've climbed K-2, I once escaped prison, and I faked a pregnancy to get out of a job; which one is true?"

Oh wait. Yes I can. Well, be forgiving anyway.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Hilarity Roundup

I cannot recommend eloping enough, as you will save enough money for a down payment on a house and still have enough left over to pay for your first two children’s bachelors degrees.

* * *

Dear Money,


Haven't seen you in a while. Are you still out there? Did you move away or get a new AIM name or something?


I just love...


Let down

When you see an item you like in a clothing store that also happens to have a sale tag, but upon being rung up at the register it turns out the item was erroneously marked down, it's policy for many companies to give you the sale price anyway.

When I went to the bank to sort out my accounts and the teller told me I had a credit card I'd never known about with a balance of $0, but then much later I was informed by another banker that the card was in fact one I'd reported stolen last winter, not actually usable, well ... I think I should have gotten the card and its unused credit anyway.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

fauxhemia needs a face lift

Someone like me who doesn't carry around spare killer blog templates in her back pocket shouldn't start messing around with her blog's little visual details when she is already tired to begin with, because that little bit of tweaking will turn into a fullscale overhaul which will NOT GO SMOOTHLY and which will not only leave her even more braindead than before but also without even a new look to show for all the work, because after awhile such a thing just has to be given up on.

Anyone want to redesign me?

In other news, this

is a fun idea.



Ismat's back.



I woke up this morning to discover that I am apparently a shameless, exhibitionist hussy. Why hasn't Drunken BlogGuard™ been developed yet?


I doubt I'll ever find an accessory I like more than the ID/money pouch held to the thigh by a garter belt.

I'm not trying to be cute. It's honestly one of the best combinations of useful and fun that I've ever seen. Why is it such innovations seem only acquirable in the gift sets handed out by Clinique when customers spend over $15?

Tuesday, August 19, 2003


If I'm not allowed to joke about guns and bombs in airports or on airplanes, is it too much to ask that airline staff not kid about plane food? Honestly, when a flight attendant says, "Here's your meal, and if you survive that I'll be impressed," I am not amused.

"All comments regarding the questionable quality of airline food are taken seriously. Please, no jokes."


I'm the foot fuckin' MASTER

Some things never get old.

Monday, August 18, 2003

This is an exercise in memory and I don't really expect it to interest anyone except me. But it's more readable than many of the other thoughts darting through my mind recently, most of which have to do with how much I currently loathe San Diego.

Camden A.M.

Most weekdays around nine o'clock, I left the flat with the day's gear packed into my handbag and trotted down Barker Drive with midmorning enthusiasm in the direction of Camden Town. I passed one cat lazing in the garden by the flat and another in the shade of some shrubbery across the street. As I approached the nearest cross street I sometimes saw a postman's vehicle parked between the Constitution, a local pub, and the red BT telephone booth with the advert that read, "But 9 of 10 BT telephones are always working."

I crossed the street and skipped down the steps to the canal, dodging the workers tearing up the pavement (until they disappeared and left a sparkling new stone surface in their place). There was a bench a few paces from the steps and usually it was occupied. Several more yards on were often perched a pair or threesome of hopeful fishers, already looking weary in the sun, which by this time had begun to heat concrete, wooden and watery surfaces everywhere and coax out a gleam of moisture from every forehead I could see.

Water squirted from the cracks between some of the cement planks that formed the walkway by the canal, so I tried awkwardly to avoid the small crevices, while at the same time skirting around puddles, ducking under the curved ceilings created by bridges over the canal at Royal College Street and Kentish Town Road, and dashing to the path's edge at the sound of a bike's tinkling bell or a jogger's thudding footsteps.

Sometimes people were maneuvering boats through the lock just before the excellently situated MTV studios. Across from MTV's picnic table-bedecked deck was a grassy spot where lay several sunsoaked nappers, invariably clothed by the long-sleeved and black, something I never understood.

The path widened and took a slightly upward slant at this point, and Camden Market came into view. There were the stalls and stores, the pubs and restaurants, the bridge that was Chalk Farm Road, the continuance of the canal as it wound toward Primrose Hill, the London Zoo, and eventually Little Venice.

I took the cobblestone path up to the bridge and crossed in the direction of the canalside Starbucks. When I wanted coffee, I sometimes bought it; other times, I got it free. As I walked down the crowded street I always heard "Waiting for Tonight" by Jennifer Lopez coming from Blueberry. I passed the racks of Union Jack thongs, the goth store, and the stall selling football jerseys, including that of Newcastle United in a boys' large, the one I have now.

I sometimes stopped at a cash point on the corner of Parkway. I picked the one with the shortest queue, either Barclay's, HSBC or Lloyd's, and made a stop at the internet cafe a short way down Camden High Street. It smelled like bad food unless I was hungry, and then it smelled fantastic. I paid £1 for an hour and spent it checking email, reading weblogs and investigating the potential destinations of the day before prancing out and across the road to the Camden Town tube station, where I bought a Day Travelcard for zones 1 and 2, made my way to the soonest Charing Cross branch arrival and disappeared through the train doors before it sped away to Central London.

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