Thursday, September 18, 2008
The Boys in Blue (no women cops here)
The thing with the cops: a few people have e-mailed us about it. I didn't realize that Edna made a post about it. It's kind of fun, really. Nothing to worry about. Except that when I really lose it on one of these guys Edna and the kids are going to be stuck on the side of the road when they take me away, screaming and yelling. The bribery is astonishingly blatant here.
The second time I got pulled over last weekend, the guy wanted $60 because he said I stopped in the wrong lane. Total bullshit. The guy that actually pulled us over took me into their shack with all my paperwork after I refused to speak Russian. It's not so much that I refused--I just played the tourist. He gave up on me after about 5 minutes and called his supervisor over.
The next guy started telling me that I didn't stop. But I did. And I wasn't going to relent on that issue. I dragged him out of the shack and showed him exactly where I brought the car to a complete standstill. The bloody stop sign is even printed in English. He pointed six feet to the left and indicated that I had to stop in 'this' lane and then he wrote (on a slip of paper; not an official ticket with a serial number) 5850T--about $60. Where-upon I lost it on his ass.
I gestured, gesticulated, and mimed to him, combined with some volume, that I would do a U-turn, drive around their shack, come back and stop in the 'correct' lane before I would pay the 5850T. I truly don't understand much Russian yet, but he seemed to say "Calm down Edna Karen, calm down." (Our car is actually owned by the school but it is in my and Edna's name--he thought I was Edna Karen).
I just kept repeating "I don't understand what you are saying. I don't want to understand what you are saying. I think "Thriller" was Michael Jackson's best album, but he really hasn't done anything great lately. Oh yeah, I'm not paying the 6000T!"
Then I looked at his badge number (they don't put their names on their uniforms) and muttered it to myself a few times. He stared at me again like I was going to all of a sudden start speaking flawless Russian through osmosis, or something. Then he burst out laughing, threw my paperwork at me and said "Go away Edna Karen."
See? No problem. We all laugh. (Afterwards.)