Late at night and over the line

September 15, 2012

An encounter with a police officer reminds JP that the world sees pharmacists only as pill counters.

Wasn't speeding

"What?" I said. "I wasn't speeding."

"I don't have to answer those questions." I looked at him. "You know that."

"True," he said with a frown.

"But I will," I said. "I just left work, and I haven't had anything to drink."

I wanted to turn the AC back on and get home. "Do you want my license and proof of insurance?"

He took the documents to his police cruiser. A few minutes later, he handed them back to me and asked, "Where do you work so late?"

I frowned. "I know," he said. "You don't have to answer that."

"But I will," I said. "I'm a pharmacist. I work at the drugstore at the end of Seawall Boulevard, at Holiday Drive."

Wasn't drinking

"You haven't been drinking?"

"At work? Come on, man. Why did you stop me?"

"You crossed the line," he said. "I followed you from 14th to 33rd. You crossed the line five times." He hesitated. "I know you weren't on the phone. Were you texting?"

"Let me blow into the tube," I said. "I want to go home. I had a tough shift. I worked really hard tonight, and I just want to go home and put my feet up. I'm very tired and very hungry."

I held up the white jacket I was taking home for laundering. I showed the company insignia. I pointed at my nametag.

It was in the middle of the week, going on 11. There were couples in short pants and thin cover-ups, holding hands and walking on the seawall, but very little vehicle traffic. The cop wanted to talk. I relaxed, but it was hot and the air in the car was stagnant.