Friday, January 17, 2014

The Long Arm of the Law

I live a deliberate life.  My life is simple and uncomplicated.  Visually I am forgettable because I do not attract the eye.  I am the 50% for height and weight.  I obey laws.  I live by the motto "The next best thing to perfection is to be invisible."

It works well.  My encounters with the law have either been at long range or been routine and perfunctory.

Until last night, when I was able to observe the efficient functioning of the Long Arm of the Law at extremely close range.


This part of the story could run as long as the Book of Exodus but I will condense it to the highlights.  Stories do not happen unless people screw up.  And I screwed up.

I am blessed to live in a simple part of the world where times and distances are interchangeable.  Fifty miles is fifty minutes.  That is a benefit of living in thinly populated flatlands.

I screwed up when I only allowed two-and-a-half hours to travel 74 miles.  We got a little bit of weather and I was driving into an area with higher population density.  There were three vehicles being recovered from median on my drive down to Ann Arbor.

I ran out of washer fluid.  I had filled up before the trip.  Post-action diagnostics reveal that the washer fluid hose is cracked.  It is likely that somebody once filled the reservoir with water and it froze.

I arrived in Ann Arbor with a dirty windshield near the tail end of the afternoon commute traffic.  I parked in the Ann Arbor Pioneer High School parking lot based on an on-line map I had pulled up.  There was snow on the ground and I was running late.

Ohio State vs. U-of-M rivalry

One of the manifestations of the Ohio State vs. University-of-Michigan rivalry is that graduates of the schools pimp their rival by screwing up maps.  For example, the small, fictitious town of Goblu existed on the official Ohio State road map for many years before the hapless Buckeyes noticed.  The pimping has only gotten worse as publishers economize by using the "wiki" approach for "improving" and proofing their on-line documents.

I careful researched the location of the Indoor Track Facility.  The online map delivered me to the Police Department.  I smell a Buckeye!

I was screwed.  I was a half mile from my vehicle.  It was dark.  I did not have a paper map (another screw up on my part).  I had no freaking clue where the indoor facility was.  The door to the Police Station was card-swipe secured.

The Long Arm in Action

A straggler came out of the building and I asked him how to get to my destination.  He said it was not walkable.  He said I would have to use an overpass to get across the railroad and the walkways were buried in snow.

While the first straggler was explaining this to me a second guy came out of the building.  He was a BIG man in his late-forties.  He overheard part of the conversation, asked where I need to go....and then offered me a ride in his truck.

His truck was a new, Ford Super Crew with two inches of snow on it.  I offered to brush/scrape it off as payment for the ride.  He told me to shut up and sit in the truck.

He scraped the windshield from the driver's side and went from A pillar to A pillar.  He did not even lean against the truck to do it.  Holy Crap!

That Lawman has Long Arms.

Most people are right handed and scraping a windshield from the driver's side either requires some serious left-arm action or backhanded right arm strength.

It was a short ride to the Area.  I learned that he was a former U-of-M track athlete who ran (mostly) hurdles.  He spent hundreds of hours practicing in that indoor facility.  He is learning to play hockey to keep his mind, body and reactions quick.  He has three kids who have his size and common sense and their mama's good looks and smarts.  He is a guy I would proudly share adult beverages with.

I had no good way to pay him back.  The best I could do was to tell him my best Buckeye joke.  It is one that he will not be able to repeat in a professional is the joke that ends, "...pepper spray does that to everybody."

Belladonna Update

Eaton Rapids sent two athletes to that event.  Belladonna did well but was not satisfied with her performance.  She knows she can do better.

I was impressed.  Her form looked like poetry, like ballet.  Last year's weakness was a tendency to try to line-drive the shot and her throws had excellent loft.  I thought she gave a fabulous performance given that she only had a couple of days practice actually throwing the shot.  And she did not injure herself.

I told Belladonna that I am proud of her because she is making the transition to being guided by her internal compass.  The performance of the other competitors has become less important to her than her progress as she grows toward her fullest potential.

The other athlete was a pole vaulter and he placed first with 14' 9".  Of course, Belladonna wanted to stay and support him.  Pole vaulting was the last event to finish so we got a late start heading back home.  Belladonna slept.  I drank Mountain Dew with real caffeine.

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