Have you ever been pulled over…on bike? Not a motorcycle, a mechanical bike. Yep, that’s me. After a walmart interview in Antioch this summer, I changed clothes (because who would bike in interview clothes?) and put them in my laptop bag.
Nick dropped me off with the bike, said he had to work late so I may as well bike back and don’t wait for him to come give me a ride. Antioch to Nick’s home is not a quick bike ride, especially during the summer, it can be quite grueling.
I’m literally less than 10 minutes away from Nick’s home finally, when a sheriff’s car pulls up and parks in front of the bike path. I wish they would have come in the 1st 10 minutes of my bike ride so I could ask for a ride, they always come during the tail end of my trip for some fucked up reason (spoiler alert for the next few police encounters in the upcoming chapters)! Because of the hills, this was a 2 hour bike ride on a long stretch of road.
I look to my left over my shoulder to see if there’s any oncoming traffic so I don’t run into a truck in a losing battle with my bike as I try to swerve to avoid hitting the sheriff vehicle.
A part of me is thinking it’s a bad idea to look over my shoulder even for traffic. It just looks suspicious, me looking over my shoulder. No one ever sees the innocent part of me.
Nick fatty Mc’Fat fat-asshole would later come back around 4:00 pm not 10pm. He got his days mixed up. Could have avoided the whole ordeal had he just picked me up!
After the interview one of the nice employees who commended me on being early asked when my 2nd interview was scheduled. I asked, “What 2nd interview?” My interviewer never said anything about a 2nd interview. By the look on the employee’s face I could tell he was thinking what I was thinking–I didn’t get the job.
I don’t know why but I had this urge to ask him for a ride back “home” during his scheduled break time, but then I remembered before the interview he was talking about issues with his truck. I still fought the urge to ask, I really didn’t want to bike back.
I decided to read my book in their dunkin’ donuts and kill some time afterwards. I don’t know why I didn’t just leave immediately. Not like the weather was going to get any cooler. I guess I was putting off the inevitable, dreadful long bike ride home. After a few hours I decided to call it a day and get it over with.
It was one of the longest, most un-scenic routes ever. I’ve never sweated so much in my life. My itchy, dry skin triggered by sweat and grass–it was agony!
Long rides really give you time to think, reflect and ponder what went wrong. Not just what went wrong with that day, but what went wrong with my life to lead up to this point. Wasn’t a good idea to drop out of med school. No matter how depressed I was in that podunk midwest city– I should have just grinned and beared it. My parents constantly asking for money, hell, a liability lawsuit threatening to take away my professional license in the future would have still been better than this goddamned scenario.
So I ride past the sheriff vehicle, by this time this tall slender man has gotten out of it and is leaning on his driver side door. He says, “Excuse me, can I talk to you for a minu-” I continue riding. By this time my heart is pounding. Oh, so he did stop for me. Gosh, I wonder why? Did someone call the cops? Was he already patrolling the neighborhood? Is this protocol? Am I in trouble for not wearing a helmet? Aw shit, what gives?
I hear a door shut and engine start. He’s back in his vehicle to catch up with me.
Lots of things are running through my head. Could it be my laptop bag, bulky with the laptop, the heavy book I was reading plus the change of clothes? Was it the casual clothing I’m wearing while biking? Is it the combination of casual clothing plus laptop bag? Is it really that rare to bike in small towns instead of driving (is that why almost everyone is such a fat ass here)? Could it be he finds me suspicious that I’m biking in the middle of a weekday when I should be at work…unless I work a graveyard shift (but no one ever thinks about the 3rd shift workers) or on my day off…or unemployed?
He pulls up next to me and through the passenger window that has been wound down he asks, “Hey can you pull over to the side for a sec?” I glance quickly towards him and ask “Why?” and ride onwards before he could even give a response.
What is he thinking? Does he think I have drugs in my bag? Does he think I’m a mover? No way could I be in IT, why do I have a laptop bag? No way is she a student, why the laptop bag? What’s in the bag, what’s in the bag, what’s in the goddamn bag!?
He speeds up and parks in the middle of the bike path and steps out of the car. By this time there’s another sheriff’s vehicle behind me. He’s called for backup to block my path behind me. Perhaps he does this as a precaution should I decide to turn back, since it may be difficult for him to make a u-turn and pursue a chase with me on that road.
I stop my bike and put the kickstand down. He says “You’re not in trouble. I just want to tell you to be safe” Okay. Got it. (are) We done? Not by a long shot. He asks “Where are you headed,” I tell him I’m headed down the road, but not the specific address. If he’s not giving me a ride, what’s the fucking point of telling him where to follow and harass me?
Then he says “Do you have ID? Can I see some ID?” Why? Perhaps an excuse to get me to put my hand in my bag. Maybe an excuse to draw a weapon because my hand is not where he can see it? Maybe an excuse to search, see if I unzip my laptop bag. Nope, not taking the bait.
I said “Why? You just said I’m not in trouble why do you need to see ID?” You know what he says? He smiles and says, “My boss wants to know who I talk to.” Psssha! Yeah and every time you go into a coffee/ donut shop at a convenience store you ask the clerk for ID too because you talked to them. Get outta here! I told him I don’t have it on me. He pulls out a notepad and pen. He asks for my name and date of birth. I give him a fake name.
By this time a female comes out of the 2nd sheriff vehicle. She’s looking at me with such a scowl as if she’s got the sun in her eyes, The sun is not facing her at all. She hates me, I can see it, I feel it. Why, I wonder to myself. What the fuck did I do?
This is embarrassing. All the cars that pass by and see not 1, but 2 sheriff vehicles with troopers stopping to talk to me…ON A BIKE! What the hell does this look like to them? What are they thinking? What did she do? What’s in the bag? Guilty until proven innocent.
No way am I digging through all the crap in my bag to find my I.D. to give it to someone when 1.) I’m not buying a drink, and 2.) I didn’t do anything. I’m on a bike, why should I be required to have I.D. on me when I don’t have to. And If I did, it’s none of your fucking business, I’m still not budging. As far as you know, I don’t have an I.D.
He takes my “name” and D.O.B. down and says, “Can you wait here, I’ll be right back.” I said “No. Why? What’s the point?” It’s not like you have any collateral of mine like my I.D. Why should I have to wait for you to run my name and d.o.b? He’s dumbfounded. He doesn’t know how to answer the question. I ask him for a ride to my destination. He agrees at first until he notices there’s nowhere to put the bike. He could have put it in his trunk. Bastard. Anyway, I shrugged my shoulders and left. I kept looking back to see if I’m being followed. My heart never beating the same again that day.
A part of me wishes he just wanted my I.D. so he can ask me out. It would have just been my out of state I.D anyways, not like he’d know where I was currently staying in Illinois. But that call for backup kills that theory. He was hot too, but that shit-eating-grin is just that– (bull)shit. I know damn well he was fishing for priors, warrants.
He would have found nothing, nada, zilch, (I did have a seatbelt violation once in TX, but nothing in IL.) but I know my rights and I don’t fall for that “if you’ve done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide, let them search and seize everything, let them read your emails, texts, and let them see your I.D.” bullshit. I don’t care how suspicious it looks for me to turn down a search, I know my rights.
Now that I look back I recall not a single black person working at the Wal-mart in Antioch that morning. Maybe it’s the city’s demographics, maybe it’s the store, maybe they weren’t scheduled those hours, or maybe just…maybe the (work opportunity tax credit) WOTC just gave them an incentive to interview me, never intending to hire me in the first place. The interviewer never made eye contact, that should have been the first tipoff.
Nick asks, “Do you even really want a job?” How insulting! As if I want to be in this predicament. As If I’m purposely sabotaging my interviews so I won’t have to work.
Must. Fight. Urge… to stab Nick’s fat-ass to death in his sleep.