Sunrise in a police state

Let me explain.  I needed to get up bright and early so that I was able to “leave” before my son got on his school bus because otherwise he would have been confused – Mom isn’t allowed to leave without saying goodbye, and I had to leave before he could get home.  His bus comes a wee bit early, 6:20ish, and so I was up at 5:45 and went on over to the gym to work out to blow the time and fit in some exercise before I got stuck in a car for 6 or 7 hours. 

I was coming home at 7 am, and I saw some fog in the field by my turnoff on the way home.  It looked so pretty.  I loved that empty field.  I know that it’s just empty because of something to do with oil drilling or something environmental that means it will always be empty, and a lot of the time, you can see wildlife, especially birds, and every once in a while, if you’re lucky, a coyote.  But the sun was rising, and the fog was rising, and the mix with the light behind the trees and the mists…anyway, it was really pretty. 

So being that type of person, I pulled over to be out of the way of traffic, rolled down my window, and used my cell phone to take a few pictures. 

As I’m sitting there, though, taking a shot, I suddenly see flashing lights behind me.  It was a cop’s car.  He had pulled up behind me.  I had my flashers on, I was by the side of the road, and I thought I was totally out of the way.  Why was he coming up and talking to me? 

It was just because I was stopped, and he was checking on me.  Seeing if I was okay. 

I know, I should feel good about that. 

Thanks for checking on me!

I mean, if I was being abducted or my car had broken down or something else horrible was going on, yeah, that would have been great. 

But my car was running, my flashers were on, and I was just parked by the side of the road with my window down.  Instead of feeling good and happy that the cop cared about me, I felt constrained and controlled.  I felt questioned.  I felt overprotected, and like it was a weird sort of police state where stopping was a questionable action and wanting to enjoy nature was prohibited. 

The cop didn’t say anything that sounded rude, and he wasn’t an asshole or anything – there was nothing he did wrong.  He didn’t demand to see my ID.  But I felt like I had been caught doing something.  The flashing lights, the questioning if things were okay.  I felt like if he hadn’t liked the response, he might have asked me for ID, might have asked me to step out of the vehicle.

And what if I hadn’t been a white female?  What if I had been a black male wearing a hoodie who had decided to take that same picture?  Would I have wound up on the hood of the car, being frisked as people drove past me to work and school?  Would I have been detained while a K9 unit got called in to sniff my car? 

I was innocent of doing anything wrong, and the cop was also innocent of doing anything wrong…but it still felt wrong. 

Anyway, so here’s the picture.  Hope you enjoy it and that it was worth all of that.