Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Have you ever been arrested?
This afternoon, I was driving between auditions and was searching for a parking spot near Beverly Drive. The street itself was packed as usual, with all the meters except the odd "15min only" space available. (Insufficent for a commerical audition, which can take anything up to an hour or more) So I drove on and around the block and decided to cross over Beverly on Pico. I crossed over the lights in the inside lane, then spotted a shopping center. Ah, parking!
I indicated my intention to turn right, but as I slowed near the entrance, saw that it was only for Pavilions and, rather than risk getting towed, drove past the entrance, so as not to block it. I then stopped and indicated left to join the traffic again. (I was now caught behind a parked car) When the lane was free, I pulled out and almost immediately a cop car flashed me and pulled me over. Here follows the exchange:
COP: License and registration please.
GID: (handing them over) What's the problem, officer?
COP: You did a U-turn.
GID: Uh...no I didn't.
COP: You pulled into the parking lot and then performed a U-turn. That's illegal.
GID: But I didn't do a U-turn.
COP: If you travel in an Easterly direction and then turn and travel West, that's a U-turn.
GID: (dumbfounded) But I was never travelling East. I was travelling West the whole time. I crossed over the lights in the inside lane and indicated to turn into the parking. When I saw it was for Pavilions only, I decided not to park there and simply continued past the entrance, so as not to block it. Then I indicated to rejoin the traffic. I waited until it was clear and then pulled out.
COP: (unamused) But you turned into the parking. I saw you had to back up.
GID: (thinking he's in the Twilight zone) I'm sorry but I never turned into the parking. I never engaged the reverse gear. I was in a straight line the whole time.
COP: Maybe I'm seeing things, but I saw you make a U-turn. If you turn into a parking and then turn around and come out again, that's a U-turn.
GID: I understand what you're saying, but I didn't turn into the parking. I was in the same lane the whole time.
COP: Where are you going?
GID: I'm going to a casting on Beverly.
COP: A what?
GID: An audition. At 332 South Beverly.
COP: Where are you coming from?
GID: From another audition in Culver City. Uh.. (checking his diary)..8660 Hayden Place.
COP: Have you ever been arrested?
GID: (blinking in disbelief) No...
COP: (after a beat) Alright... I'm gonna let you go this time. Just back up. Go to your audition.
And the cop walks away. Surreal? Absolutely! This dude was seeing things. Either that, or a similar car actually did pull into the parking shortly before I pulled past and he thought it was the same car. But wow - nothing like a brush with LAPD to make you feel like a smoke. Geez.
I drove to the letter of the law and he makes it sound like he's doing me a favor by not giving me a citation! (Hey- maybe they feel sorry for no-name actors, seeing as the LAPD have their own star on the walk of fame - see pic) Thank heavens he didn't. I know that an illegal U-turn costs you in the region of $500 for the offense, followed by mandatory traffic school (at a fee), plus another $100 to the traffic department for the luxury of attending.
So, a lucky escape, I suppose. But I can't help feeling a little like some creepy guy in a bar touched my privates and then said "I won't press charges...this time."
And, as you all know by now, I'm the one who likes to be creepy.